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Int J Pharm. 2010 Nov 30;401(1-2):47-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2010.09.008. Epub 2010 Sep 18.

Investigating the potential of non-thermal microwave as a novel skin penetration enhancement method.

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School of Pharmacy, Shaheed Beheshti Medical University, Valiasr Ave., Niayesh Junction, P.O. Box 14155-6153, Tehran, Iran.


Microwaves (MW), a part of the electromagnetic spectrum at 0.3-300GHz, affect human body in different ways through its thermal and athermal effects, including fluidization of cell membranes and liquid crystalline systems. Due to presence of such structures in skin barrier, it was decided here to investigate the potential of athermal MW as skin penetration enhancer. In this investigation, nitrofurazone was chosen as the model penetrant and its permeation through rat skin was studied in vitro at 45 and 90min exposure intervals using MW intensities of 3, 15, 30, 60, 120W at 2450MHz. Results revealed that at 30°C and 45min exposure, 3W MW does not affect permeation of nitrofurazone (P=0.148), while higher intensities increased its flux significantly (P<0.05) in a intensity-dependent manner up to 2.7 times. When the duration of exposure increased to 90min, the enhancement ratio also increased to reach a maximum of 3.3. Applying 60W MW at 25, 30, 37 and 42°C resulted in a parabolic relationship between temperature and enhancement ratio. The present results reveal that microwave can act as a skin penetration enhancement method and that its effect depends on applied intensities, exposure time and temperature.

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