|dc.description.abstract||Most individuals are influenced by pain at some stage in their lives. It can either be of acute or chronic nature. An acute pain condition initiates and is treated within a time span of 12 weeks. Chronic pain can, however, take substantially longer to treat. Chronic pain may last up to 6 months after the original injury was sustained. The after effects of chronic pain can, however, take years to heal, but physical and emotional scars may even last much longer than the initial chronic ailment. In this study the skin was chosen as an area for delivery of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of pain at the joint and muscle tissue regions. The stratum corneum (the topmost horny layer of the skin), however bars the effective movement of chemical substances across the skin as it forms part of the skin's function to protect the superficial tissue of the body against the external environment. It furthermore plays an important role in regulation of the movement of chemicals across the skin. Sweat pores and hair follicles can be utilised as pathways for the movement of chemical substances through the stratum corneum. Physical deformation ie, hydration of the top layer of the skin, may also enhance the movement of chemicals. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, diclofenac, has been evaluated for transdermal diffusion. Three different diclofenac salts were evaluated, namely diclofenac diethylamine, diclofenac hydroxyethyl pyrrolidine and diclofenac sodium. These salts have the potential to relieve systemic pain conditions. Diclofenac salts, however, possess physicochemical characteristics that are unfavourable for transdermal diffusion. Pheroid™ delivery technology, as patented by the Northwest-University, was implemented as a method to enhance transdermal delivery of the diclofenac salts. During the study each of the diclofenac salts was formulated in a Pheroid™ and non-Pheroid™ formulation. All the formulations as well as corresponding retail products containing similar diclofenac salts were evaluated in order to determine which preparation had the most effective transdermal diffusion. High performance liquid chromatograhphy was implemented in order to determine the concentration of each salt in their various preparations. The Pheroid™ and non-Pheroid™ formulations were also compared to retail products currently available. An active ingredient flux was determined by means of Franz cell diffusion studies. Membrane diffusion studies were utilised in order to determine whether the active ingredients were effectively released from the formulated preparations and market products.
Membrane diffusion studies determined that Arthruderm (the retail product containing diclofenac sodium) had the most potential to effectively release the active ingredient from the formulation (median flux 28.36 ± 0.26 µg/cm2.h"1). Franz cell diffusion studies showed no flux values for any of the evaluated preparations, including the retail products. Concentrations obtained within the epidermis and dermis were determined through tape stripping of these areas. The largest concentration of active ingredient within the epidermis was obtained from the studies done on Voltaren® (the retail product containing diclofenac diethylamine) which was 7.27 µg/cm2.h-1 the largest value in the dermis was obtained from a non-Pheroid™ formulation containing diclofenac sodium (4.47 µg/ml). Confocal laser scanning microscopy was utilised and the micrographs where evaluated to ensure that the diclofenac salts were effectively entrapped in the Pheroid™ delivery system.||