Application of biopharmaceutical concepts to formulation development
has revolutionized strategy for dosage form design. Nanotechnology has become an
essential element of pharmaceutical sciences and finds multiple applications in drug
delivery systems in enhancing therapeutic performance of drugs. Many of the current
“nano” drug delivery systems are pedigree of conventional dosage forms like
nanosuspensions, nanoemulsions, and nanomicelles. Nanosuspension is an approach to deliver water
insoluble and poorly bioavailable drugs by reducing size to submicron range. Thereby its dissolution
rate is increased and hence the bioavailability, where drug dissolution rate is the limiting factor.
Nanoemulsions are O/W or W/O emulsion, having droplet size from 20-200 nm that are transparent
and do not have the tendency to coalesce. Nanoemulsions show great aesthetic appeal and
skin feel and find their application in transdermal delivery of drugs, topical application for systemic
drug delivery, oral delivery of proteins and delivering drugs through parenteral and intranasal
routes. Nanomicelles are self-assembling nanosized (usually with particle size within a range of 10
to 100 nm) colloidal dispersions with a hydrophobic core and hydrophilic shell. These are currently
used as pharmaceutical carriers for solubilizing hydrophobic drugs and provide drug delivery platform
to be exploited for multiple routes of administration. All of these nano formulations combine
the advantage of maximizing therapeutic benefits with minimized side effects and improved safety,
since they have enormous potential of being targeted at cellular level. This review describes various
facets of nano drug delivery systems in relation to formulation, characterization, potential benefits
and risks, and pharmaceutical applications in drug delivery.
Keywords: Nanocrystalline, nanoemulsions, nanomedicine, nanomicelles, nanosuspensions, nanotechnology.
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