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Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2014 Jan;11(1):45-59. doi: 10.1517/17425247.2013.860130. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

Nanovesicular carriers as alternative drug delivery systems: ethosomes in focus.

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National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Raw Materials Development , Idu Industrial Area, PMB 21 Garki, Abuja FCT , Nigeria +234 8087716982 ;



The application of vesicular carrier formulations has generated promise of overcoming some problems associated with drug delivery arising from not only the physicochemical properties of the drug but also those of the biological barriers, such as the membrane linings of various body tissues and the skin. This review article discusses the importance of various vesicular carriers, namely liposomes, niosomes, transfersomes and ethosomes in drug delivery with greater emphasis on ethosomes.


The nature, mechanism of drug delivery, methods of preparation as well as characterization of vesicular carriers was discussed with a focus on ethosomes. An overview of their potential applications was provided with discussions on the future prospects and challenges of achieving enhanced drug delivery using ethosomes.


Vesicular carriers offer controlled and sustained drug release, improved permeability and protection of the encapsulated bioactives. Ethosomes offer more efficient and enhanced bioavailability better than the older dosage forms owing to the high ethanol content. Ethosomes have potential applications in the development of nanomedicines, including phytomedicines, for the treatment of challenging diseases ravaging the world today. The future holds great prospects in the utilization of vesicular carriers, especially ethosomes, in overcoming peculiar problems of drug delivery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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