Ethosomes: A Novel Deformable Carrier
Skin acts as a major target as well as a principal barrier for mucous/topical/transdermal drug delivery. Transdermal drug delivery engender major interest among large pharmaceutical firms as it provides the bypass to first-pass metabolism, avoid exposure to the chemical and biological conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, reduce adverse events and moreover improve patient compliance. Major objective of the transdermal drug delivery system is to cross the stratum cornea. One simple and convenient approach to achieve the permeation through the skin is to encapsulate the drug in ethanol based liposomes (ethosomes). Ethosomal carriers are systems containing soft vesicles, composed of hydroalcoholic or hydro/glycolic phospholipids in which the concentration of alcohols is relatively high. Ethosomes have higher penetration rate through the skin as compared to liposomes. The higher concentration of ethanol conveys fluidity of lipids which leads to increase in permeability of the skin/mucous membrane and ultimately helps to improve the drug permeation. Ethosomes have become an area of research interest, due to its potential enhanced skin permeation, improved drug delivery, increased drug entrapment efficiency etc. The purpose of this review is to focus on various aspects of ethosomes including their mechanism of penetration, preparation, composition, characterization, application and marketed product of ethosomes. Ethosomes can act as a carrier for large and diverse group of drugs with different physicochemical properties and found a number of applications in pharmaceutical, biotechnological and cosmetic fields.
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