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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2001 Sep 1;50(3):175-203.

Potential and problems of developing transdermal patches for veterinary applications.

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  • 1Center for Cutaneous Toxicology and Residue Pharmacology, Department of Farm Animal Health and Resource Management, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27613, USA.


A new frontier in the administration of therapeutic drugs to veterinary species is transdermal drug delivery. The primary challenge in developing these systems is rooted in the wide differences in skin structure and function seen in species ranging from cats to cows. The efficacy of a transdermal system is primarily dependent upon the barrier properties of the targeted species skin, as well as the ratio of the area of the transdermal patch to the species total body mass needed to achieve effective systemic drug concentrations. A drug must have sufficient lipid solubility to traverse the epidermal barrier to be considered for delivery for this route. A number of insecticides have been developed in liquid "pour-on" formulations that illustrate the efficacy of this route of administration for veterinary species. The human transdermal fentanyl patch has been successfully used in cats and dogs for post-operative analgesia. The future development of transdermal drug delivery systems for veterinary species will be drug and species specific. With efficient experimental designs and available transdermal patch technology, there are no obvious hurdles to the development of effective systems in many veterinary species.

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