Trials and tribulations of skin iontophoresis in therapeutics

Authors

  • Matthieu Roustit,

    Corresponding author
    1. Inserm U1042, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France
    2. Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Inserm CIC03, Grenoble, France
    • Correspondence

      Dr Matthieu Roustit, Unité de Pharmacologie Clinique, Centre d'Investigation Clinique de Grenoble – Inserm CIC03, CHU de Grenoble, 38043 Grenoble Cedex 09, France.

      Tel.: +33 4 76 76 92 60

      Fax: +33 4 76 76 92 62

      E-mail: mroustit@chu-grenoble.fr

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  • Sophie Blaise,

    1. Inserm U1042, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France
    2. Vascular Medicine Department, Grenoble University Hospital, Grenoble, France
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  • Jean-Luc Cracowski

    1. Inserm U1042, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France
    2. Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Inserm CIC03, Grenoble, France
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Abstract

Iontophoresis is a method of non-invasive transdermal drug delivery based on the transfer of charged molecules using a low-intensity electric current. Both local and systemic administration are possible; however, the skin pharmacokinetics of iontophoretically delivered drugs is complex and difficult to anticipate. The unquestionable theoretical advantages of the technique make it attractive in several potential applications. After a brief review of the factors influencing iontophoresis, we detail the current applications of iontophoresis in therapeutics and the main potential applications under investigation, including systemic and topical drugs and focusing on the treatment of scleroderma-related ulcerations. Finally, we address the issue of safety, which could be a limitation to the routine clinical use of iontophoresis.

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