The stratum corneum (SC) is a primary rate limiting barrier to permeation of drug molecules through the skin. Small molecular weight lipophilic drugs that are effective at low doses can be effectively delivered by passive transdermal delivery. The SC does not permit passage of polar/hydrophilic and macromolecules. Passive and physical penetration enhancements strategies are used to overcome this barrier property of the SC. Passive penetration enhancement techniques include use of supersaturated solutions and penetration enhancers. In general, the drug delivery potential of chemical modalities is limited. Therefore, physical permeation enhancement techniques gained a lot of focus in the recent past. Physical penetration enhancement techniques include iontophoresis, electroporation and sonophoresis. Electroporation utilizes high voltage pulses that are applied for a very short time to permeabilize the skin to facilitate transport of macromolecules and hydrophilic compounds. Several drugs have been administered via this system successfully. This review presents an overview of in-vitro and in-vivo studies demonstrating therapeutic benefits offered by electroporation assisted permeation. Factors affecting electroporation, synergism between electroporation and other penetration enhancing strategies are also discussed.
Keywords: Electroporation, synergism, in-vitro, in-vivo, formulation, transdermal
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