Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Transdermal delivery of medicines: Extracts from capsicum, clove, cinnamon, Tulsi and Aloe vera are now turning out to be the potent novel molecules that will help revolutionise the latest medical technology of no-hassle drug delivery through the skin

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Extracts from capsicum, clove, cinnamon, Tulsi and
Aloe vera are now turning out to be the potent novel molecules that
will help revolutionise the latest medical technology of no-hassle
drug delivery through the skin.

Skin is now increasing turning out to be the new medium of delivery of
drugs for effective and long-lasting activity of the medicine. Giving
a boost to the delivery of drugs through the skin, a team of
researchers from Visakhapatnam has taken up a comprehensive research
on herbal extracts. The herbs include capsicum, ingredients of garam
masala, oil obtained from holy basil and pulp of Aloe vera.

Delivering drugs through the skin is a challenging task. The skin does
not allow the medicine to pass through it to enter the blood stream.
Pharmaceutical companies have been adding chemicals (skin penetration
enhancers) to drugs to outsmart the skin’s defensive barrier and allow
the drug to enter the systemic (blood) circulation. But these
chemicals are harmful and cause side effects.

The research team from the department of pharmaceutics, Gitam
University, Visakhapatnam, has now taken up further research on herbal
extracts to overcome the problem of negative effect of conventional
skin penetration enhancers. They have zeroed in on clove and Tulsi
oil, Aloe vera pulp and capsaicin obtained from Capsicum. These herbal
extracts are harmless and do not cause any side effects.

“Although many chemicals have been evaluated as skin penetration
enhancer in human beings and animals, to date none has proven to be
ideal. They should be non-toxic, non-irritating and non-allergic. The
action should be immediate and the effect should be both predictable
and reproducible. They should have no pharmacological activity within
the body. When removed from the skin the barrier properties should
return,” said Prof Padilama Suresh, dean and principal, Gitam
Institute of Pharmacy.

One of the researchers, Rabi Narayan Parhi, said the herbal extracts
are cheap and safe. “We are evaluating some of these herbs. Animal
studies are currently underway”. Novel skin penetration enhancers
offer potential advantages in delivering broad range of therapeutic
agents, ease and speed of administration, and sustained therapy
through specifically designed controlled release products like skin
patches.

An increasing number of drugs are being added to the list of
therapeutic agents that can be delivered to systemic circulation
through the skin. Commonly available dosage forms for the topical
application are creams, ointments, gels and patches. The health issues
that can be addressed through skin drug delivery include those related
to heart, pancreas, and wide range of infections.

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