May-June 2019

Medical Plastic Data Service Magazine



Our 27th Year of Publication
Page  5 of 5

Cover Story

Low Risk, Patient Friendly Microneedle Arrays: An Emerging
Medical Device for Enhanced Local/Systemic, Transdermal Drug Delivery

Hollow MNs have also been used as a conduit for drug diffusion into the skin from a non-pressurized drug reservoir.

Dissolvable microneedle

In contrast to coated MNs, polymer MNs have been developed to completely dissolve in the skin and thereby leave behind no bio-hazardous sharps waste after use (Figure 5, drug-loaded MNs).

These MNs are typically made solely of safe, inert, water-soluble materials, such as polymers and sugars that will dissolve in the skin after insertion. While dissolving MNs can be used as a skin pretreatment to increase permeability, drugs are often encapsulated inside the microneedle for release into the skin similarly to coated MNs.

All these types of microneedle mostly suitable for delivery of biomolecule and fabricated via different technique like solvent casting, photolithography, ion etching etc. The most usable technique is solvent casting technique by means of centrifugation, pressure or vacuum as driving force to fabricate MNs.

Application of microneedle based transdermal patch system :

Microneedles have been explored for varied applications ranging from systemic and local drug delivery to cosmetic applications. Owing to benefit of minimal skin invasion and pain free delivery, MNs serve as an alternative to conventional hypodermic therapy and have been employed for ocular, systemic and intracellular drug delivery. Varied applications are MNs are briefly summarized below :

1. Delivery of immunobiologicals:

Microneedles have an edge over conventional vaccination delivery systems with associated needle phobia and the pain associated with insertion of needle into the skin and chances of occurrence of infectious diseases. MNs can be used for the administration of immunobiologicals via the subcutaneous, intramuscular or intradermal route.

2. Delivery of biopharmaceuticals:

Owing to the harsh gastric environmental conditions including acidic pH, proteolytic degradation and hindered absorption, bioactive macromolecules such as heparin, insulin, growth hormones are not administered orally. The majority of biopharmaceuticals are administered via the parenteral route. Microneedles can be used for systemic delivery of biopharmaceuticals via skin with no associated pain or chances of infection.

3. Delivery of small molecule synthetic drug substance:

It is essential for a drug molecule to possess necessary physico-chemical properties like lipophilicity and low molecular weight to cross the skin barrier. Transport of a drug molecule through the skin and also the rate of transportation are governed by these physico-chemical properties like hydrophilic-lipophilic balance, solubility, molecular weight, etc. These challenges posed in transdermal drug delivery can be overcome by use of microneedles based drug delivery.

4. Diagnosis:

The use of microneedles along with quantum dots can be employed in the field of diagnosis. Hollow microneedles acts as channels for delivery of nano scale crystals with a light-emitting property which in turn would help in medical diagnosis.

5. Cosmeceuticals:

Treatment of skin conditions like ageing (wrinkles, lax skin), scarring (acne, surgical), photo damage, hyperpigmentation (age/ brown spots) and hair loss (alopecia) can be easily and effectively done with the aid microneedle technology.


Microneedle patch based transdermal systems have evolved as an alternative to conventional hypodermic injections for a number of clinical applications. MNs based technology can offer pain-free drug delivery also eradicating the chances of infection. Microneedle based technology would be beneficial particularly in paediatric vaccinations where it can help dispel anxiety and actually enhance participation. Microneedle based patch systems are emerging as promising technology and can be foreseen as a complete replacement of injectables.

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