Ethosomes as vesicles for effective transdermal delivery: From bench to clinical implementation

Public Release: 7-OCT-2016


This research article by Dr. Nida Akhtar et al. is published in Current Clinical Pharmacology, Volume 11, Issue 3, 2016

Ethosomes are ethanolic nanovesicles that possess abundant amount of ethanol in its core which provides fluidity to the lipid bilayers and thus by this effect, improves the delivery of molecules into the deep skin layers. These vesicles are capable of enclosing both hydrophilic and lipophilic drugs.

Various preclinical and clinical reports on drugs delivered via ethosomes have been highlighted in this article which suggests that these nanocarriers can be employed for drug targeting via transdermal route.

Antimicrobials such as clotrimazole, terbinafine, acyclovir, stavudine, etc have been discussed; these drugs show improved preclinical and clinical results. Anti-inflammatory drugs like thiocolchicoside, curcumin and piroxicam have also depicted with improved anti-inflammatory action.

Drugs acting on CNS viz vinpocetine, valsartan, ropinirole, ligustrazine phosphate, upon loading into ethosomes exhibited enhanced percutaneous absorption/ bioavailability. Several other drugs like alfuzosin hydrochloride, repaglinide, testosterone propionate, enoxaparin, etc also exhibited better penetration, and fluorescence intensity.

Several in vitro and in vivo permeability analysis delineated the enhancement of permeability. In vivo confocal laser scanning microscopy depicted the quantity as well as depth of penetrability via ethosomes.

Patents on ethosomal transdermal drug delivery have suggested that these nanocarriers can be employed effectively with enhanced penetration and drug diffusion.

Further, safety and toxicity issues have also been raised. Ethosomes have demonstrated no adverse skin reactions in clinical trials with drugs. Post marketing data has also revealed no other adverse reactions, thus, proving them to be safe and effective for drug delivery.

Binary, composite ethosomes, transethosomes are recently developed ethosomal carriers have gained considerable attention as drug delivery vehicles in the past few years and could prove to be an effective carrier system for transdermal delivery.

Ethosomal-based transdermal drug delivery could eventually become an important accession for therapeutics offered to several diseases in the future.


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