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Development and Evaluation of Particulate Microcarriers of Adapalene as a Topical Delivery System

[ Vol. 9 , Issue. 3 ]


Divya D. Jain and Namita D. Desai*   Pages 222 - 233 ( 12 )


Background: Adapalene is a promising third generation retinoid used in the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. However, the major drawback associated with conventional topical therapy of Adapalene is the ‘retinoid reaction’ which is dose-dependent and characterized by erythema, scaling and burning sensation at the application sites. Microparticulate drug delivery can play a major role in reducing side effects and providing better patient compliance due to targeted delivery.

Methods: Adapalene microparticles were prepared using quasi emulsion solvent diffusion method. The effects of formulation variables including polymer ratios, amounts of emulsifier, drug loading and process variables such as stirring time and speed on the physical characteristics of microparticles were investigated. The developed microparticles were characterized by DSC and SEM. Adapalene microparticles were incorporated into Carbopol 971 NF gel for ease of topical delivery.

Results: Adapalene microparticulate topical gel showed sustained drug release over 8 hours in in vitro studies. The amount of drug retained in the rat skin during ex vivo studies was higher in the microparticulate topical gel (227.43 ± 0.83 µg/cm2) as compared to the marketed formulation (81.4 ± 1.11 µg/cm2) after 8 hours indicating localized and sustained drug action that can be useful in treating acne vulgaris. The safety of optimized Adapalene gel determined by skin irritation studies performed on Sprague Dawley rats showed no irritation potential.

Conclusion: Microparticles can provide promising carrier systems to deliver Adapalene, improving patient compliance due to enhanced skin deposition, localized and sustained action with reduced associated irritant effects.


Adapalene, microparticles, topical drug delivery system, controlled release, Carbopol 971 NF gel, acne vulgaris.


Department of Pharmaceutics, Bombay College of Pharmacy, Kalina, Santacruz (E), Mumbai – 400098, Maharashtra, C. U. Shah College of Pharmacy, SNDT Women’s University, Santacruz (W), Mumbai – 400049, Maharashtra

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