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Visualization of Epidermal Reservoir Formation from Topical Diclofenac Gels by Raman Spectroscopy

Authors Zhang Q, Flach CR, Mendelsohn R, Page L, Whitson S, Boncheva Bettex M

Received 13 April 2020

Accepted for publication 9 June 2020

Published 2 July 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1621—1627


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Robert B. Raffa

Qihong Zhang,1 Carol R Flach,1 Richard Mendelsohn,1 Leanne Page,2 Susan Whitson,2 Mila Boncheva Bettex3

1Department of Chemistry, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ 07102, USA; 2Charles River Laboratories Edinburgh Ltd., Tranent, East Lothian, UK; 3GSK Consumer Healthcare S.A., Nyon 1 1260, Switzerland

Correspondence: Mila Boncheva Bettex
GSK Consumer Healthcare S.A., Route de l’Etraz 2, Case Postale 1279, Nyon 1260, Switzerland
Tel +41 79 700 9281

Purpose: This work investigated whether topical pain relief diclofenac gels can form a diclofenac reservoir in the epidermal and dermal layers of human skin.
Methods: Excised human skin samples were treated with three topical diclofenac gels ex vivo and examined using Raman microscopy of transversally microtomed sections. The relative diclofenac concentration in the skin layers was calculated as the ratio of the integrated areas of bands characteristic of diclofenac (∼ 445 cm− 1) and skin (Amide I). A customized masking algorithm ensured that only diclofenac-specific signal was mapped in the resulting Raman images.
Results: A heterogenous spatial distribution of diclofenac was clearly visible in both the epidermis and the dermis in all samples, with a markedly higher diclofenac relative content and number of pixels above the detection limit in the epidermis compared to the dermis.
Conclusion: The Raman images evidenced that the studied topical gels deliver diclofenac through the stratum corneum skin barrier and form a drug depot localized in the epidermis. The data are in line with earlier clinical findings that this depot acts like a true reservoir and enables sustained drug release.

Keywords: diclofenac, drug permeation, epidermal reservoir, Raman microscopy, skin depot, topical pain relief

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