Lab, Field, and Clinic
May 4, 2005

Breaking Barriers in Transdermal Drug Delivery

JAMA. 2005;293(17):2083. doi:10.1001/jama.293.17.2083

Since the first transdermal patch was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1979 to treat motion sickness, patches have become a useful means of delivering drugs for a number of purposes. Still, the barrier properties of the skin mean that currently only modest doses of small, lipophilic drugs can be effectively delivered through the skin.

But new research reported by scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, demonstrates that specially designed “chemical permeation enhancers” can be developed to potently and safely permeate the skin so that a wider range of drugs might be administered transdermally. This means of enhancing topical drug delivery could enable physicians and patients to bypass the injected or oral forms of many drugs, along with some of their adverse effects.