Introduction: Betamethasone dipropionate is a highly effective corticosteroid
anti-inflammatory. However, the main drawback of its topical use is the limited skin penetration
into deeper skin layers. Also, its systemic use has shown many side effects.
Objective: The goal of this research was to formulate betamethasone dipropionate in
nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC) formulae that contain oleic acid to aid its penetration to
deeper skin layers and to aid absorption to local regions upon topical application.
Methods: NLC formulae were prepared by high shear homogenization then sonication.
Formulae were characterized for their particle size, size distribution, electric potential, occlusion
factor, entrapment efficiency, drug loading, transmission electron microscopy, in
vitro drug release, and ex vivo skin penetration. Compatibility of ingredients with drug was
tested using differential scanning calorimetry. Formulae were shown to have appropriate
characteristics. NLC formulae were superior to traditional topical formulation in drug release.
Results: Upon testing ex vivo skin penetration, betamethasone dipropionate prepared in
NLC formulae was shown to penetrate more efficiently into skin layers than when formulated
as a traditional cream. NLC formulation that contained higher percentage of oleic acid
showed higher penetration and higher amount of drug to pass through skin.
Conclusion: In general, NLC with lower oleic acid percentage was shown to deliver betamethasone
dipropionate more efficiently into deeper skin layers while that of a higher oleic
acid percentage was shown to deliver the drug more efficiently into deeper skin layers and
through the skin, transdermally.