Investigating the influence of drug aggregation on the percutaneous penetration rate of tetracaine when applying low doses of the agent topically to the skin

X. J. Cai, T. Patel, A. Woods, P. Mesquida, S A Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
270 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Understanding the molecular aggregation of therapeutic agents is particularly important when applying low doses of a drug to the surface of the skin. The aim of this study was to understand how the concentration of a drug influenced its molecular aggregation and its subsequent percutaneous penetration after topical application. A model drug tetracaine was shown to form a series of different aggregates across the μM (fluorescence spectroscopy) to mM (light scattering analysis) concentration range. The aggregate formation process was sensitive to the pH of the vehicle in which the drug was dissolved (pH 4, critical aggregation concentration (CAC) - 11 μM; pH 8, CAC - 7 μM) and it appeared to have an impact upon the drug's percutaneous penetration. At pH 4, increasing the concentration of the drug in the donor solution decreased the skin permeability coefficient (Kp) of tetracaine (13.7 ± 4.3 × 10-3 cm/h to0.06 ± 0.02 × 10-3 cm/h), whilst at pH 8, it increased the Kp (29.9 ± 9.9 × 10-3 cm/h to 75.1 ± 41.7 × 10-3 cm/h). These data trends were reproduced in a silicone membrane and this supported the notion that the more polar aggregates formed at pH 4 acted to decrease the proportion of species available to pass through the skin, whilst the more hydrophobic aggregates formed in pH 8 increased the membrane diffusing species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICS
Volume502
Issue number1-2
Early online date6 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • Aggregation
  • Drug delivery
  • Pain
  • Penetration enhancer
  • Skin
  • Tetracaine
  • Transport

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