Detailed pharmacokinetic characterization of advanced topical acyclovir formulations with IVPT and in-vivo Open Flow Microperfusion

Publikation aus Health

Gerd Schwagerle, Matthew J. Sharp, Alan Parr, Denise Schimek, Selma Mautner, Thomas Birngruber

International Journal of Pharmaceutics , 7/2023


Successful treatment of herpes simplex viruses is currently limited by the lack of effective topical drugs. Commonly used topical acyclovir products only reduce the duration of lesions by a few days. Optimizing topical formulations to achieve an enhanced acyclovir solubility and penetration could increase the efficacy of topically applied acyclovir but new formulations need to show reliable acyclovir delivery into at least the epidermis/dermis and need to provide sustained acyclovir release for extended time periods. The aim of this study was to compare pharmacokinetic data from in-vitro permeation testing (IVPT) and preclinical dermal open flow microperfusion (dOFM) experiments regarding the penetration behaviour of different acyclovir formulations relative to the reference product Zovirax® 5% cream. Four test formulations that delivered the best penetration data in IVPT were further tested using continuous dOFM in vivo dermal sampling. The use of dOFM identified one of the four tested formulations to perform significantly better than the other three tested formulations and the reference product. In vivo dOFM data showed differences in the dermal acyclovir concentration that had not been detected by using IVPT. Improved acyclovir delivery to the dermis was likely achieved by the new formulation that uses a much lower drug load compared to the reference product. This optimized formulation was able to achieve a dermal concentration similar to oral application and can thus provide the opportunity of more efficacious topical HSV-1 treatment with less side effects than oral systemic treatment.

Keywords: Cutaneous penetrationdermal absorptiontopical acyclovir applicationherpes simplexpig modelacyclovir formulationopen flow microperfusion