Chemical permeation enhancers and their use in transdermal drug delivery
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The field of medicine has advanced such that we are now capable of combating many disorders through the use of carefully studied, well-developed therapeutics. There are a number of ways to administer such therapeutics including via inhalation, intravenously, orally, or transdermally. Of the aforementioned delivery pathways, transdermal drug delivery systems have gained much recognition for their ability to deter the premature metabolism of therapeutics as well as avoid potentially harmful side effects. But transdermal delivery systems come with their own set of challenges. For example, the topmost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum, serves as a sturdy rate limiting barrier to molecular permeation. Researchers have therefore sought out formulations that are able to temporarily and reversibly modify such barriers so that we may take advantage of the skin as a delivery route for necessary therapeutics. A number of chemicals, referred to as chemical permeation enhancers (CPE), have shown great promise in being able to do just that. CPEs have been proven to enhance drug flux without causing irreversible damage to the integrity of our skin’s natural barrier. This thesis will therefore explore the mechanisms of action behind various chemical permeation enhancers and their use in transdermal drug delivery today.