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Keywords:

  • cyclodextrin and sol-gel;
  • drug delivery system;
  • ethosomes;
  • liposome;
  • nanostructured lipid carrier (NLC);
  • niosome;
  • solid lipid nanoparticle (SLN);
  • transferosome

ABSTRACT

The introduction of new topical drugs based on new chemical entities has become a rare event. Instead, pharmaceutical companies have been focused on reformulating existing drugs resulting in an ever-growing number of topical drug products for every approved drug substance. In light of this trend, soon reformulations may not be as rewarding to their sponsors as they are today unless they offer a substantial improvement over other formulations of the same drug substance and the same indication, namely improved efficacy over existing drugs, reduced side effects, unique drug combinations, or applicability for new indications. This article reviews and compares topical drug delivery systems currently under active research that are designed to offer such advantages in the coming years. The reviewed delivery systems are: liposomes, niosomes, transferosomes, ethosomes, solid lipid nanoparticles, nanostructured lipid carriers, cyclodextrin, and sol-gel microcapsules. Among all the topical drug delivery systems currently undergoing active research, only the sol-gel microencapsulation is at clinical stages.