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Critical Reviews™ in Therapeutic Drug Carrier Systems

Impact factor: 5.367

ISSN Print: 0743-4863
ISSN Online: 2162-660X

Critical Reviews™ in Therapeutic Drug Carrier Systems

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevTherDrugCarrierSyst.v20.i1.20
40 pages

Ethosomes: New Prospects in Transdermal Delivery

Biana Godin
Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91120, Israel
Elka Touitou
Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy; The David R. Bloom Center for Pharmacy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel


Ethosomes are noninvasive delivery carriers that enable drugs to reach the deep skin layers and/or the systemic circulation. Although ethosomal systems are conceptually sophisticated, they are characterized by simplicity in their preparation, safety, and efficacy—a combination that can highly expand their application. Ethosomes are soft, malleable vesicles tailored for enhanced delivery of active agents. This article reviews work carried out in vitro, in vivo, in animal models, and in humans with various ethosomal systems incorporating a wide range of drugs. Because of their unique structure, ethosomes are able to encapsulate and deliver through the skin highly lipophilic molecules such as cannabinoids, testosterone, and minoxidil, as well as cationic drugs such as propranolol and trihexyphenidil. Results obtained in a double-blind two-armed randomized clinical study showed that treatment with the ethosomal acyclovir formulation signi. cantly improved all the evaluated parameters. Preliminary studies with plasmids and insulin revealed that the ethosomal carrier may be used for enhanced delivery of these agents. In further work, the ethosomal technology was broadened to introduce agents into cultured cells and microorganisms. Enhanced delivery of bioactive molecules through the skin and cellular membranes by means of an ethosomal carrier opens numerous challenges and opportunities for the research and future development of novel improved therapies.