Background: Vaginal drug delivery offers an opportunity for effective microbicide
treatments. However, the physiological characteristics of the vagina represent a
challenge when preparing microbicide formulations for local delivery that avoid systemic
Objective: To review recent advances in vaginal microbicides placing special emphasis
on nanocarriers that encapsulate peptide microbicides. The review includes an overview
of local treatment and prevention strategies for bactericidal, fungal, protozoal and viral
vaginal infections that use peptide microbicides.
Methods: Scientific literature and clinical trials published in the PubMed database since
2015 are analyzed.
Result: Peptide microbicides are used for vaginal drug delivery as a means of prevention
and treatment of several infectious diseases, especially sexually transmitted infections,
and it is clear that such peptide-based microbicides constitute a suitable strategy. Their
combination with nanotechnological drug delivery systems improves local peptide administration
while avoiding their degradation and adverse effects. To date, only a few polymeric
and lipid-based nanocarriers have been used for peptide microbicide vaginal delivery.
Conclusion: The combination of nanotechnology and peptide microbicides has emerged
over recent years, and different platforms are being used for vaginal peptide delivery.
Nanostructured systems for peptide delivery via vaginal rings or hydrogels are increasingly
used as platforms capable of providing suitable drug delivery. However, there is still a
lack of knowledge about nanocarriers aimed at encapsulating peptides for local microbicide