International journal of pharmaceutics

The use of colloidal microgels as a (trans)dermal drug delivery system.

PMID 15725560


A co-polymer of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (85%) co-butyl acrylate (10%) co-methacrylic acid (5%) (NIPAM/BA/MAA) (85/10/5) microgel was synthesised and investigated as a potential pH and temperature sensitive transdermal delivery device. Three compounds having different octanol/water partition coefficients and solubilities were incorporated into the microgel, namely: salicylamide (SA), methyl paraben (MP) and propyl paraben (PP). Physico-chemical characterisation of these microgel-drug complexes showed that microgels incorporating MP and SA have smaller volumes after changing environmental pH or temperature when compared with the co-polymer NIPAM/BA/MAA (85/10/5) alone. This reduction in volume could be attributed to the incorporation of the compounds into the microgel particles, having a shielding effect on the charged groups present within the network. Diffusion studies, across human skin, were performed at 305K in the range of pH 3-7 for saturated solutions of SA, MP and PP, and for microgel particles incorporating the three compounds. The transport rate for these microgels incorporating MP was reduced by 2/3-fold compared to the saturated solution, by one order of magnitude for PP, meanwhile the transport rate for these microgels incorporating SA is the same order of magnitude as that for the corresponding saturated solutions. Transdermal release studies of the saturated colloidal dispersions indicated that pH control of the drug release was marginal. The incorporation of compounds into the pH/temperature sensitive co-polymer NIPAM/BA/MAA (85/10/5) and the subsequent release depends on the octanol/water partition coefficient and solubility of the respective compound.