The effect of heat on the follicular absorption of drugs into the skin has not previously been investigated. In comparison to drug delivery across the continuous stratum corneum (SC), follicular absorption is known to be relatively rapid and therefore the use of short durations of heat may be particularly useful for enhancing drug delivery to the hair follicles, as well as being practical for patients to use. In this study erythromycin has been used as a model drug and the combined use of heat and chemical penetration enhancers was found to be able to synergistically increase the penetration of erythromycin into human skin via the follicular route. Moreover durations of heat application as short as 10 min in combination with particular enhancer systems were found to be sufficient to significantly increase erythromycin delivery to the skin. Overall the data indicate that the use of heat with chemical penetration enhancers offers a potentially valuable strategy for delivering drugs via the follicular route.
- Chemical penetration enhancers
- Follicular absorption
- Skin permeation