Pharmaceutical Research

, 28:2119 | Cite as

Modelling Dermal Drug Distribution After Topical Application in Human

  • Yuri G. Anissimov
  • Michael Stephen Roberts
Research Paper



To model and interpret drug distribution in the dermis and underlying tissues after topical application which is relevant to the treatment of local conditions.


We created a new physiological pharmacokinetic model to describe the effect of blood flow, blood protein binding and dermal binding on the rate and depth of penetration of topical drugs into the underlying skin. We used this model to interpret literature in vivo human biopsy data on dermal drug concentration at various depths in the dermis after topical application of six substances. This interpretation was facilitated by our in vitro human dermal penetration studies in which dermal diffusion coefficient and binding were estimated.


The model shows that dermal diffusion alone cannot explain the in vivo data, and blood and/or lymphatic transport to deep tissues must be present for almost all of the drugs tested.


Topical drug delivery systems for deeper tissue delivery should recognise that blood/lymphatic transport may dominate over dermal diffusion for certain compounds.


dermal drug distribution modelling percutaneous penetration topical drug delivery 



We are grateful to the financial support of the National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia and the Queensland and New South Wales Lions Medical Research Foundation. We also acknowledge Prof. Hans Schaefer’s advice in relation to experimental data in his work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biomolecular and Physical SciencesGriffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia
  2. 2.School of MedicineUniversity of Queensland, Princess Alexandra HospitalBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Pharmacy and Medical SciencesUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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