Topical and Transdermal Drug Delivery

  • Ashlee D. Brunaugh
  • Hugh D. C. Smyth
  • Robert O. Williams III
Part of the AAPS Introductions in the Pharmaceutical Sciences book series (AAPSINSTR)


This chapter reviews numerous concepts relevant to drug delivery topically and transdermally. Topics covered include the skin’s function barrier, mechanisms for drug transport through the skin, in vitro analytical techniques, and methods to increase drug permeation. Commonly used formulation approaches such as semisolid dosage forms and transdermal patches are also discussed.


Topical drug delivery Transdermal drug delivery Percutaneous absorption Fick’s law of diffusion Permeation enhancement Semisolid dosage forms Transdermal patches 

Further Reading

  1. Suggested readings for the student include the following texts:Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    Kim YC, Park JH, Prausnitz MR. Microneedles for drug and vaccine delivery. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2012;64(14):1547–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 2.
    Martins PP, Estrada AD, Smyth HD. A human skin high-throughput formulation screening method using a model hydrophilic drug. Int J Pharm. 2019;565:557–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 3.
    Prausnitz MR, Langer R. Transdermal drug delivery. Nat Biotechnol. 2008;26:1261–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 4.
    Tarbox TN, Watts AB, Cui Z, Williams RO. An update on coating/manufacturing techniques of microneedles. Drug Deliv Transl Res. 2018;8(6):1828–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashlee D. Brunaugh
    • 1
  • Hugh D. C. Smyth
    • 1
  • Robert O. Williams III
    • 1
  1. 1.College of PharmacyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations