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Knowledge At MET

Knowledge At MET

Microneedles-An emerging transdermal drug delivery system

What are microneedles?

Microneedles are extremely small needles used to draw blood or administer drugs without penetrating the skin and underlying tissue as deeply as traditional hypodermic needles or syringes.

When used for medical purposes, rows of several hundred microneedles are put onto tiny patches that are then applied to the skin. The microneedles make microscopic holes in the outermost layer of the skin, and either draw minute quantities of blood or deliver a drug, a process called transdermal drug delivery.

Methods for manufacturing these microneedle devices include micromoulding, microfabrication, microshaping and combinations thereof. Microneedles are fabricated using a microelectromechanical system employing silicon, metals, polymers or polysaccharides. Solid coated microneedles can be used to pierce the superficial skin layer followed by delivery of the drug.

Microneedles- as a transdermal drug delivery system

One of the thrust areas in drug delivery research is transdermal drug delivery systems (TDDS) due to their characteristic

advantages over oral and parenteral drug delivery systems Transdermal drug delivery has proven to be of great therapeutic utility.

A TD patch can provide continuous drug administration, minimizing peaks and troughs in plasma levels throughout the day. TD systems can take the place of more risky and invasive injection-based drug delivery, thus improving regimen compliance. Moreover, they are more efficient, use less medication, and are less variable compared with some oral medications that undergo presystemic metabolism.

Microneedles (MNs) represent a unique technological approach to enhance drug permeation across the subcutaneous(SC) membrane.

Thus, solid MNs produce a grid of holes, or micropores, through which medications delivered via a standard patch, may be delivered to the skin for local or systemic drug absorption.


  1. Microneedles have been used for TD delivery of small molecules,macromolecules such as peptides and proteins viz. insulin, growth hormones, immunobiologicals. proteins, DNA, and vaccines for systemic action.
  1. Microneedles containing 'cosmeceuticals' are currently available to treat acne, pigmentation, scars and wrinkles, as well as for skin tone
  2. They cause minimal pain and trauma compared to traditional needles and are used for various medical purposes like immunizations, pain management, and blood glucose
  3. Microneedle therapy is a way to rejuvenate the skin without destroying the
  4. Potential benefits of using microneedle delivery include reduced pain perception (and hence patience compliance), improved pharmacokinetic and bioavailability
  5. Dissolving microneedles can be designed to gently encapsulate molecules, insert into skin, and enable bolus or sustained release delivery (used in the treatment of intraocular lymphoma).

Hence, MN have a number of potential benefits for patients, clinicians, and the pharmaceutical industry as compare with alternative delivery methods.

Rutu Desai (T Y B Pharm)

Tags: MET Institute of Pharmacy