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Expert Rev Med Devices. 2011 Jul;8(4):459-82. doi: 10.1586/erd.11.20.

Microneedle arrays as medical devices for enhanced transdermal drug delivery.

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School of Pharmacy, Queens University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.


In order to exploit the transdermal route for systemic delivery of a wide range of drug molecules, including peptide/protein molecules and genetic material, a means of disrupting the excellent barrier properties of the uppermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum, must be sought. The use of microneedle (MN) arrays has been proposed as a method to temporarily disrupt the barrier function of the skin and thus enable enhanced transdermal drug delivery. MN arrays consist of a plurality of micron-sized needles, generally ranging from 25 to 2000 ┬Ám in height, of a variety of different shapes and composition (e.g., silicon, metal, sugars and biodegradable polymers). The application of such MN arrays to the skin results in the creation of aqueous channels that are orders of magnitude larger than molecular dimensions and, therefore, should readily permit the transport of macromolecules. This article will focus on recent and future developments for MN technology, focusing on the materials used for MN fabrication, the forces required for MN insertion and potential safety aspects that may be involved with the use of MN devices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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