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Pharm Dev Technol. 2010 Dec;15(6):562-81. doi: 10.3109/10837450903369879. Epub 2009 Dec 17.

Pharmaceutical development of microbicide drug products.

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  • 1CONRAD, Arlington, Virginia 22209, USA.


HIV infection rates in the developing world remain a serious problem. One potential approach to reduce infection rates is to use products known as microbicides, referred to herein as microbicide drug products (MDPs). These are drugs capable of, when administered topically to the vagina (or rectum), interfering with infection by one or more mechanisms. This review article covers the latest pharmaceutical developments in the area of microbicides dosage forms and delivery systems. These products are principally designed for use in the developing world and must therefore address cultural and societal issues generally unknown in the developed world. The first-generation microbicides evaluated clinically were principally polyanions. These drugs, administered intravaginally as gels, were found to be ineffective in preventing transmission of HIV from men to women. Second-generation drugs such as tenofovir, dapivirine, and UC781 are reverse transcriptase inhibitors developed as gels formulations and intravaginal rings (IVRs). Gels are considered coitally-related products while IVRs are coitally-independent systems designed to release the drug over a four-week period or possibly longer (up to 3 or 4 months). Other dosage forms under development include fast dissolving films, tablets/capsules, and possibly vaginal sponges. Dual protection systems are also under development. These systems include formulations capable of preventing HIV infection along with a second drug capable of preventing conception or other viral infections such as HSV.

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