Viagra Patch Made Possible by Nanotechnology

Sildenafil citrate, known commonly by its brand name, Viagra, has extended the sex life of males since its introduction in 1998. The little blue pill comes with some unwanted side effects, however—and with a waiting period before it takes its full effect.

Seeing an opportunity to improve upon the popular prescription pill, researchers in Egypt have developed a nano-enabled transdermal patch that delivers the drug into the bloodstream far more quickly and reduces side effects that result from taking the drug orally in pill form. 

The researchers, led by Yosra S.R. Elnaggar of Alexandria University, have published their work in the International Journal of Nanotechnology. 

Others have attempted to develop a transdermal patch for delivering the sildenafil citrate into the body, butthe trick in this iteration is that the researchers have encapsulated the drug in a nanoemulsion-based system that can cross membranes.

According to a report in the publication In-Pharma Technologist:

"The researchers examined two types of nanocarrier—one forming an emulsion with the drug using a surfactant compound to allow the lipid molecules and drug to mix, and the other a self-emulsifying nanocarrier that has its own inbuilt sufactant."

The self-emulsifying approach proved successful. 

“In this paper, relevance of nanomedicine to improve SC characteristics and transdermal permeation was assessed,” the authors report in their paper. “Nanoemulsion elaborated could significantly enhance transdermal permeation of SC with higher initial permeation and prolonged release.”

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Nanoclast

IEEE Spectrum’s nanotechnology blog, featuring news and analysis about the development, applications, and future of science and technology at the nanoscale.

 
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