Formulation, in vitro release and transdermal diffusion of diclofenac salts by implementation of the delivery gap principle
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used in the treatment of inflammation and pain (Escribano et al., 2003:203). Diclofenac, a classical NSAID, is considerably more effective as an analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory drug than other traditional NSAIDs, like indomethacin and naproxen (Grosser et al., 2011:986). However, the use of diclofenac is known for its many side effects, such as gastric disorders, while fluid and sodium retention are also commonly observed (Rossiter, 2012:391). Since topical diclofenac offers a more favourable safety profile, it is a valuable substitute for oral NSAID therapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis (Roth & Fuller, 2011:166). The benefits of topically applied NSAIDs, compared to oral administration and systemic delivery, include the easy cessation of treatment, should effects become troublesome (Brown et al., 2006:177), the avoidance of extensive, first-pass metabolism (Cleary, 1993:19; Kornick, 2003:953; Prausnitz & Langer, 2008:1261; Lionberger & Brennan, 2010:225), reduced systemic side effects (Colin Long, 2002:41), convenience of application and improved patient compliance (Cleary, 1993:19; Prausnitz & Langer, 2008:1261). An approach that is often applied in optimising the solubility and dissolution rate of poorly water soluble, weak electrolytes is to prepare a salt of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) (Minghetti et al., 2007:815; O’Connor & Corrigan, 2001:281-282). Diclofenac is frequently administered as a salt, due to the high partition coefficient and very low water solubility of this molecule (Fini et al., 1999:164). Formulating for efficacy (FFETM) is a software programme designed by JW Solutions to facilitate the formulation of cosmetic ingredients or solvents into a product that would optimally deliver active ingredients into the skin. The notion is built upon solubility, i.e. solubility of the active ingredient in the formulation and solubility of the formulation in the skin. This programme could also be employed to optimise amounts of predetermined ingredients, to propose formulations that would ensure optimal drug delivery, to calculate the skin delivery gap (SDG) and to demonstrate transdermal permeation of active ingredients and excipients (JW Solutions Software, 2013a). When the SDG is known, it mathematically indicates the optimal active ingredient and topical delivery vehicle to use (JW Solutions, 2013b). In this study, diclofenac sodium (DNa), diclofenac diethylamine (DDEA) and diclofenac N-(2- hydroxyethyl) pyrrolidine (DHEP) were each formulated in the following emulgels: * An emulgel optimised towards the stratum corneum (SC) (enhancing drug delivery into this layer and deeper tissues) (oily phase ~30%), * A more hydrophilic emulgel (oily phase ~15%), and * A more lipophilic emulgel (oily phase ~45%). Components of the oily phase and its respective amounts, as well as the SDG of formulations were determined by utilising the FFETM software of JW Solutions (2013a). The aqueous solubilities of DNa, DDEA and DHEP were determined and their respective values were 11.4 mg/ml, 8.0 mg/ml and 11.9 mg/ml, all indicative of effortless percutaneous delivery (Naik et al., 2000:319). Log D (octanol-buffer distribution coefficient) (pH 7.4) determinations for DNa, DDEA and DHEP were performed and their values established at 1.270 (DNa), 1.291 (DDEA) and 1.285 (DHEP). According to these values, diclofenac, when topically applied as a salt in a suitable vehicle, should permeate transdermally without the aid of radical intervention (Naik et al., 2000:319; Walters, 2007:1312). Membrane release studies were also carried out in order to determine the rate of API release from these new formulations. Results confirmed that diclofenac was indeed released from all nine of the formulated emulgels. The more hydrophilic DNa formulation released the highest average percentage of diclofenac (8.38%) after 6 hours. Subsequent transdermal diffusion studies were performed to determine the diclofenac concentration that permeated the skin. The more hydrophilic DNa emulgel showed the highest average percentage skin diffusion (0.09%) after 12 hours, as well as the highest average flux (1.42 ± 0.20 μg/cm2.h). The concentrations of diclofenac in the SC-epidermis (SCE) and epidermis-dermis (ED) were determined through tape stripping experiments. The more lipophilic DNa emulgel demonstrated the highest average concentration (0.27 μg/ml) in the ED, while the DNa emulgel that had been optimised towards the SC, had the highest concentration in the SCE (0.77 μg/ml).
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