Dissolving microneedles: Applications and growing therapeutic potential

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Sartawi, Ziad
Blackshields, Caroline
Faisal, Waleed
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Microneedles are a rapidly developing method for the transdermal delivery of therapeutic compounds. All types of microneedles, whether solid, hollow, coated, or dissolving function by penetrating the stratum corneum layer of the skin producing a microchannel through which therapeutic agents may be delivered. To date, coated and hollow microneedles have been the most successful, despite suffering from issues such as poor drug loading capabilities and blocked pores. Dissolving microneedles, on the other hand, have superior drug loading as well as other positive attributes that make it an ideal delivery system, including simple methods of fabrication and disposal, and abundantly available materials. Indeed, dissolvable microneedles can even be fabricated entirely from the therapeutic agent itself thus eliminating the requirement for additional excipients. This focused review presents the recent developments and trends of dissolving microneedles as well as potential future directions. The advantages, and disadvantages of dissolving microneedles as well as fabrication materials and methods are discussed. The potential applications of dissolving microneedles as a drug delivery system in different therapeutic areas in both research literature and clinical trials is highlighted. Applications including the delivery of cosmetics, vaccine delivery, diagnosis and monitoring, cancer, pain and inflammation, diabetes, hair and scalp disorders and inflammatory skin diseases are presented. The current trends observed in the microneedle landscape with particular emphasis on contemporary clinical trials and commercial successes as well as barriers impeding microneedle development and commercialisation are also discussed.
Microneedle , Dissolvable microneedle , Skin , Intradermal delivery
Sartawi, Z., Blackshields, C. and Faisal, W. (2022) 'Dissolving microneedles: Applications and growing therapeutic potential', Journal Of Controlled Release, 348, pp. 186-205. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.05.045