International journal of nanomedicine

Utilization of nanotechnology to enhance percutaneous absorption of acyclovir in the treatment of herpes simplex viral infections.

PMID 26109856


This study aimed to formulate an optimized acyclovir (ACV) nanoemulsion hydrogel in order to provide a solution for the slow, variable, and incomplete oral drug absorption in patient suffering from herpes simplex viral infection. Solubility of ACV in different oils, surfactants, and cosurfactants was explored utilizing a cubic model mixture design to obtain a nanoemulsion with minimum globule size. Preparation of an optimized ACV nanoemulsion hydrogel using a three-factor, three-level Box-Behnken statistical design was conducted. The molecular weight of chitosan (X1), percentage of chitosan (X2), and percentage of Eugenol as a skin permeation enhancer (X3) were selected to study their effects on hydrogel spreadability (Y1) and percent ACV permeated through rat skin after 2.5 hours (Y2). A pharmacokinetic study of the optimized ACV nanoemulsion hydrogel was conducted in rats. Mixtures of clove oil and castor oil (3:1 ratio), Tween 80 and Span 80 (3:1 ratio), and propylene glycol and Myo-6V (3:1 ratio) were selected as the oil, surfactant, and cosurfactant phases, respectively. Statistical analysis indicated that the molecular weight of chitosan has a significant antagonistic effect on spreadability, but has no significant effect on the percent ACV permeated. The percentage of chitosan also has a significant antagonistic effect on the spreadability and percent ACV permeated. On the other hand, the percentage of Eugenol has a significant synergistic effect on percent ACV permeated, with no effect on spreadability. The ex vivo study demonstrated that the optimized ACV nanoemulsion hydrogel showed a twofold and 1.5-fold higher permeation percentage than the control gel and marketed cream, respectively. The relative bioavailability of the optimized ACV nanoemulsion hydrogel improved to 535.2% and 244.6% with respect to the raw ACV hydrogel and marketed cream, respectively, confirming improvement of the relative bioavailability of ACV in the formulated nanoemulsion hydrogel.

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