Transdermal drug delivery enhancement by compounds of natural origin
Fox, Lizelle Trifena
Hamman, Josias Hendrik
Du Plessis, Jeanetta
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The transdermal route of administration offers an alternative pathway for systemic drug delivery with numerous advantages over conventional routes. Regrettably, the stratum corneum forms a formidable barrier that hinders the percutaneous penetration of most drugs, offering an important protection mechanism to the organism against entrance of possible dangerous exogenous molecules. Different types of penetration enhancers have shown the potential to reversibly overcome this barrier to provide effective delivery of drugs across the skin. Although certain chemical and physical skin penetration enhancers are already employed by the pharmaceutical industry in commercially available transdermal products, some skin penetration enhancers are associated with irritating and toxic effects. This emphasizes the need for the discovery of new, safe and effective skin penetration enhancers. Penetration enhancers from natural origin have become popular as they offer several benefits over their synthetic counterparts such as sustainable mass production from a renewable resource and lower cost depending on the type of extraction used. The aim of this article is to give a comprehensive summary of the results from scientific research conducted on skin penetration enhancers of natural origin. The discussions on these natural penetration enhancers have been organized into the following chemical classes: essential oils, terpenes, fatty acids and polysaccharides.