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Microneedles enhance drug administration through skin
Date:2/4/2008

ther delivery techniques, but existing systems can only be used for a narrow range of compounds that easily pass through the skin.

By painlessly punching a series of microscopic holes in the outer layer of skin known as the stratum corneum, microneedles promise to expand the range of drugs and vaccines that can be delivered transdermally. Until this study, however, the only published research demonstrating drug delivery using microneedles had involved studies in animals and on human cadaver skin.

Working with Prausnitz and his Georgia Tech research team, Wermeling and colleagues Stan Banks, a graduate student in the UK College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, David Hudson, fellow in the UK College of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry, and Audra Stinchcomb, associate professor in the UK Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and co-author of the paper, set out to determine whether microneedle patches could indeed help deliver useful amounts of drug compounds that otherwise couldnt pass through the skin. As a test compound, they chose the drug naltrexone, a skin-impermeable compound that is used to treat opiate and alcohol addiction.

Working with a small group of non-addicted human test subjects, they first prepared a section of skin on each subjects arm by pressing and removing thumb-sized patches that contained 50 stainless steel microneedles each about 620 microns about 1/40th of an inch in length. Next, gel containing naltrexone was applied to the prepared area, which was then covered by a protective dressing.

The concentration of the drug in each subjects bloodstream was monitored for 72 hours. The researchers quickly saw levels of the drug reach pharmacologically active concentrations, and those levels remained steady for at least 48 hours in the six test subjects.

Control subjects were treated in the same way, but without the microneedle preparation prior to application of the naltrexone gel. None of the control su
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Contact: Ann Blackford
ann.blackford@uky.edu
859-323-6363
University of Kentucky
Source:Eurekalert  

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