Background: The present work aimed to develop an ethosomal gel of naproxen sodium for
the amelioration of rheumatoid arthritis.
Objective: In the present work, we have explored the potential of ethosomes to deliver naproxen into
deeper skin strata. Further, the anti-inflammatory efficacy of naproxen ethosomal formulation was assessed
using the carrageenan-induced rat paw edema model.
Methods: Naproxen sodium nanoethosomes were prepared using different proportions of lipoid S100
(50mg-200mg), ethanol (20-50%) and water, and were further characterized on the basis of vesicle
morphology, entrapment efficiency, zeta potential, in-vitro drug release and ex-vivo permeation studies.
Results: The optimized ethosomal formulation was found to have 129 ± 0.01 nm particle size, 0.295
Polydispersity Index (PDI), -3.29 mV zeta potential, 88% entrapment efficiency and 96.573% drug
release in 24 hours. TEM and SEM analysis of the optimized formulation showed slightly smooth
spherical structures. The Confocal laser scanning microscopy showed that ethosomes could easily infiltrate
into deeper dermal layers (upto 104.9μm) whereas the hydroalcoholic solution of the drug could
penetrate up to 74.9μm. Further, the optimized ethosomal formulation was incorporated into 1% carbopol
934 gel base and optimized wherein the transdermal flux was found to be approximately 10 times
more than the hydroethanolic solution. Also, the in-vivo pharmacodynamic study of the optimized ethosomal
gel exhibited a higher percentage inhibition of swelling paw edema than marketed diclofenac gel.
Conclusion: The ethosomal gel was successfully developed and has shown the potential to be a good
option for the replacement of conventional therapies of rheumatoid arthritis.