Dissolving microneedle (DMN), a transdermal drug delivery system in which drugs are encapsulated in a biodegradable polymeric microstructure, is designed to dissolve after skin penetration and release the encapsulated drugs into the body. However, because of limited loading capacity of drugs within microsized structures, only a small dosage can be delivered, which is often insufficient for patients. We propose a novel DMN application that combines topical and DMN application simultaneously to improve skin permeation efficiency. Drugs in pretreated topical formulation and encapsulated drugs in DMN patch are delivered into the skin through microchannels created by DMN application, thus greatly increasing the delivered dose. We used 4-n-butylresorcinol to treat human hyperpigmentation and found that sequential application of serum formulation and DMNs was successful. In skin distribution experiments using Alexa Fluor 488 and 568 dyes as model drugs, we confirmed that the pretreated serum formulation was delivered into the skin through microchannels created by the DMNs. In vitro skin permeation and retention experiments confirmed that this novel combined application delivered more 4-n-butylresorcinol into the skin than traditional DMN-only and serum-only applications. Moreover, this combined application showed a higher efficacy in reducing patients' melanin index and hyperpigmented regions compared with the serum-only application. As combined application of DMNs on serum-treated skin can overcome both dose limitations and safety concerns, this novel approach can advance developments in transdermal drug delivery.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Pharmaceutical Science
- Drug Discovery