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Topical delivery of drugs using ethosomes: A review

Sankar V.a*, Wilson V.a, Siram K.a, Karuppaiah A.a, Hariharan S.b and Justin A. c

a Department of Pharmaceutics, PSG College of Pharmacy, Peelamedu, Coimbatore, 641 004, Tamil Nadu, India (Affiliated to The Tamilnadu Dr MGR Medical University, Chennai- 600 032)

b Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Tamilnadu Dr MGR Medical University, Chennai- 600 032 India

c Department of Pharmacology, JSS college of Pharmacy, Ooty, 643 001, Tamil Nadu, India

* For Correspondence Email:


The skin is the largest organ of the human body that restricts the movement of drug to the systemic circulation. Topical drug delivery system is a system where the drug reaches the systemic circulation through the protective layer i.e. skin. The main disadvantage of this route is the low diffusion rate of the drugs which is across the stratum corneum layer of the skin. To overcome this problem to a certain extent, ethosomal delivery for drugs and herbal compounds has been recently introduced. Literature studies indicate that ethosomal formulation of acyclovir shows high therapeutic efficiency with shorter healing time in the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis than conventional Zovirax. Also, the ethosomes of minoxidil enhanced the skin permeation of minoxidil in vitro in comparison to its ethanolic or phospholipid ethanolic micellar solution or hydroethanolic solution. T he advantages of this system include increased drug permeation, increased drug entrapment and improved drug delivery. Ethosomal drug delivery system opens up doors for the development of new and novel therapies for treating male pattern baldness, as it is an easier way to prepare, in addition to its safety and efficacy. In this review article, we have focused on methods of preparation of ethosomes, characterization techniques, applications, details about the various research trials for the management of androgenic alopecia and various ethosomal products in market.

Year 2019 | Volume No. 56 | Issue No.08 | Page No. 7-20
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