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Curr Probl Dermatol. 2011;40:20-35. doi: 10.1159/000321044. Epub 2011 Feb 10.

Nasal drug delivery in humans.

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Hospital Pharmacy, University of Basel Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.


Intranasal administration is an attractive option for local and systemic delivery of many therapeutic agents. The nasal mucosa is--compared to other mucosae--easily accessible. Intranasal drug administration is noninvasive, essentially painless and particularly suited for children. Application can be performed easily by patients or by physicians in emergency settings. Intranasal drug delivery offers a rapid onset of therapeutic effects (local or systemic). Nasal application circumvents gastrointestinal degradation and hepatic first-pass metabolism of the drug. The drug, the vehicle and the application device form an undividable triad. Its selection is therefore essential for the successful development of effective nasal products. This paper discusses the feasibility and potential of intranasal administration. A series of questions regarding (a) the intended use (therapeutic considerations), (b) the drug, (c) the vehicle and (d) the application device (pharmaceutical considerations) are addressed with a view to their impact on the development of products for nasal application. Current and future trends and perspectives are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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