For a long time, research has been done about drug’s efficacy, and the major factor that impacts the drug’s performance inside the body is the way in which it is delivered. A lot of drug delivering systems have been studied in the past years, and microneedle arrays have become an attractive option for their minimal invasion through the skin, being a promising transdermal drug delivery system.
The microneedle arrays are minimal invasive devices that penetrate the skin’s barrier – the stratum corneum – creating a pathway for drug permeation. These microneedles are applied to the skin surface and create microscopic aqueous pores through which drugs diffuse to the dermal microcirculation, painlessly. However, microneedles have limited ability to deliver drug loading doses and therapeutically
sufficient drug concentrations and can break up in the skin tissues, causing skin irritations.
However, Tohoku University has been studying a technique that have shown promising results, enhancing the permeation of macromolecular drugs through the skin, solving some of the microneedle’s limitations. They studied a solid polymer-based ion-conductive porous microneedle that contains interconnected micropores for improving iontophoresis, which is a technique that applies a direct current through the skin, accelerating the transdermal penetration. This allows dose individualization and pulsed delivery profiles.
With the need of improving home healthcare systems, especially because of the growing problems of an aging society and improving medical care during epidemics, this technique shows progress in the development of healthcare patches for transdermal drug delivery.
The iontophoretic transdermal drug delivery systems have been actively studied and some of the applications already commercialized are for fast dosing of drugs for dermal anesthesia, post-operative pain relief, anti-migraine and as a simple collection method for medical diagnosis.
So, the combination of iontophoresis and microneedles is being investigated as an option for transdermal delivery, showing promising advantages of their ability to deliver macromolecular drugs.