Enhanced percutaneous permeability of diclofenac using a new U-type dilutable microemulsion

Marina Shevachman, Nissim Garti, Arnon Shani, Amnon C. Sintov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Enhanced systemic absorption in vivo and percutaneous penetration in vitro was demonstrated after transdermal administration of diclofenac sodium formulated in U-type microemulsion. Diclofenac sodium was solubilized in a typical four-component system consisting of an oil, polyoxyethylene-10EO-oleyl alcohol (Brij 96V) as the surfactant, and 1-hexanol along water dilution line W46 (40 wt % surfactant and 60 wt % oil phase before water titration).Viscosity and small angle X-ray scattering measurements have evidenced bicontinuous structures within water fractions of 0.25 and 0.5 along the dilution line. Self-diffusion NMR studies showed that drug molecules accumulated in the interfacial film and, to some extent, dissolved in the oil. Relative to a commercial macro-emulsion cream (Voltaren® Emulgel®), microemulsions containing paraffin oil or isopropyl myristate increased the in vivo transdermal penetration rate of diclofenac by two order of magnitude, whereas the rat plasma levels were increased by one order of magnitude. The in vitro data obtained from excised rat skin were comparable to the in vivo results, but suffered from discrepancies from the ideal in vivo-in vitro correlation, which might be explained by optimal in vitro conditions of perfusion and hydration. It has also been found that when jojoba oil is formulated as the oil phase in the microemulsion, the penetration rate of the drug decreases significantly. Based on the three-dimensional structure of jojoba oil, the wax is presumed to prevent the drug from being freely diffused into the skin while migrating from the interfacial film into the continuous oil phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
JournalDrug Development and Industrial Pharmacy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2008


  • Diclofenac
  • Microemulsion
  • Percutaneous penetration
  • Skin
  • Transdermal drug delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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