The transdermal application of drugs has attracted increasing interest over the last decade or so, due to the advantages it offers, compared to other delivery methods. The development of an efficient means of transdermal delivery can increase drug concentrations, while reducing their systemic distribution, thereby avoiding certain limitations of oral administration. The efficient barrier function of the skin, however, limits the use of most drugs as transdermal agents. This limitation has led to the development of various strategies to enhance drug-skin permeation, including the use of penetration enhancers. This method unfortunately has certain proven disadvantages, such as the increased absorption of unwanted components, besides the drug, which may induce skin damage and irritancy. The prodrug approach to increase the skin’s permeability to drugs represents a very promising alternative to penetration enhancers. The concept involves the chemical modification of a drug into a bioreversible entity that changes both its pharmaceutical and pharmacokinetic characteristics to enhance its delivery through the skin. In this review; we report on the in vitro
attempts and successes over the last decade by using the prodrug strategy for the percutaneous delivery of pharmacological molecules.
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