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Topical Drug Delivery Technologies – Getting Down Straight to Business

written by: Ricky•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 12/11/2008

There are several drug delivery technologies which are used to administer drugs to patients. Since a patient needs quick healing, it is best if you get down to the business (of curing) at the earliest. This reminds me of topical drug delivery technologies as you can read here!

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    Introduction

    Most of us like to act in a straight forward manner and not follow the indirect route. So why let the medicine or drug which is meant to cure you of some type of ailment, follow an indirect route? This is exactly what might have been in the might of medical experts who devised the topical drug delivery technologies. Read on to find out more about this subdivision of drug delivery methods

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    What is Topical Drug Delivery?

    Topical drug delivery methods refer to those drugs or medicines which are directly applied to the affected organ, unlike other methods which might use the oral route. As you must realize, any single method of drug delivery cannot be suitable for all types of ailments, patients and circumstances. Hence the situations wherein the administration of drug is best suited by topical methods are as follows.

    Low Toxicity Level: drugs with a low toxicity level are better suited to be applied directly to the affected organ. This does not require much reflection to understand. Just imagine what would happen to your eyes if a highly toxic eye drop is poured in them.

    Low Dose Efficacy: drugs with a higher dose efficacy are not suited to be applied directly to affected parts, the reasons for which you will learn in the subsequent section

    By the way I hope you do remember what the terms toxicity, efficacy etc mean, otherwise you can refer to a previous article on this topic for explanation.

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    Further Classification

    Topical drug delivery methods can be further subdivided into various categories and they include methods such as transbuccal, transmucosal and transdermal methods.

    Transbuccal drug delivery methods are those methods where the medicine is placed under the tongue or near the cheek. The medicine is not swallowed down the throat but remains the mouth level only, and involves slow release of the drug to the body.

    Transmucosal drug delivery methods administer the drugs through the mucous membranes, which refer to those surfaces which are in contact with air and include respiratory and alimentary tracts. Eye drops and asthma inhalers come under this categorization.

    Transdermal drug delivery methods involve the administration of drugs though the skin. A good example of a transdermal delivery system is the nicotine patches which are applied on the arm

    You must have got the answer the question asked in the previous section that why is the topical method not suited for drugs with higher dose efficacies – simply because only a small amount of the drug can be administered using any of the above mentioned methods of the topical delivery system.

    Despite this disadvantages, one of the advantages of using this method is that the drug applied directly to the affected part, hence the time to get relief is normally very fast in the absence of any intermediate media, which is a very desirable feature hence the popularity of these methods.

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    Suggested Readings

    Drug Delivery Technologies

    Is health care cost rising because of new medical technology?

    Can EMR save U.S. healthcare?

    Why are U.S. doctors slow to adopt EMR?

    IT and Healthcare