Siew Yong Teo, Siang Yin Lee, Michael J. Rathbone, Seng Neon Gan


With the emergence of novel and more effective drug therapies, increased importance is being placed upon the drug delivery technology. Topical formulations are attractive alternatives to oral formulations and offer several advantages, such as avoiding first-pass hepatic metabolism and gastric degradation. The major obstacle to drug delivery across the skin (transdermal) is the barrier nature of the skin which limits permeation of molecules. A wide range of polymeric materials is currently available for drug delivery to and across the skin. The synthetic polymers such as polyesters, polyamides, polyurethanes, polyanhydrides and poly(ortho-esters) display advantages of reproducibility of synthesis, a range of material properties and biodegradability, whereas agro-polymers like polysaccharides, proteins and lipids have already shown great promise in terms of type of material, range of properties, processing technique and biocompatibility. This review article summarizes features of different polymers and their potential applications in topical drug delivery system.


Topical delivery; polyester; polyamide; polyurethane; polyanhydride; agro-polymer; polysaccharide; protein; lipid

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