Background: Transdermal drug delivery is an attractive approach for both local and systemic therapeutics of various diseases. Transdermal drug delivery systems show various advantages like reduction of local irritation, prevention of first-pass hepatic metabolism, and bioavailability enhancement of bioactive molecules over conventional drug delivery systems.
Objective: The main objective of the present research work was to develop and characterize (in-vitro and ex-vivo) econazole nitrate loaded transethosomes and their comparison with marketed cream of econazole nitrate [Ecoderm, Brown and Burk Pharmaceutical (Pvt.) Ltd., Bengaluru, India] for effective transdermal delivery.
Method: Transethosomes loaded with econazole nitrate were developed by homogenization method and evaluated for entrapment (%), vesicular size, zeta potential, polydispersity index (PDI), and invitro drug release. Furthermore, optimized econazole nitrate loaded transethosomes were added to Carbopol 934 gel and this gel was evaluated for viscosity, pH, drug content, ex-vivo skin permeation and retention studies followed by in-vitro antifungal activity against C. albicans fungus.
Results: The optimized transethosomes loaded with econazole nitrate showed vesicle size of 159.3 ± 4.3 nm, entrapment efficiency about 78.3 ± 2.8%, acceptable colloidal properties like (zeta potential = -27.13 ± 0.33 mV, PDI = 0.244 ± 0.045), approximately 57.56 ± 2.33% drug release up to 24 h. Results of DSC analysis confirmed the encapsulation of econazole nitrate inside transethosomes. Optimized transethosomes showed drug release following zero order through diffusion mechanism. Transethosomal gel showed high drug content (92.35 ± 0.63%) and acceptable values of pH (5.68 ± 0.86) or viscosity (10390 ± 111 cPs). Transethosomal gel showed less ex-vivo skin penetration (17.53 ± 1.20%), high ex-vivo skin retention (38.75 ± 2.88%), and high in-vitro antifungal activity compared to the marketed cream of econazole nitrate.
Conclusion: Therefore, it can be concluded that econazole nitrate loaded transethosomes are effective to deliver econazole nitrate transdermally in a controlled fashion for effective elimination of cutaneous candidiasis.