Vaginal drug delivery systems: A Review of Current Status

  • N Dobaria
  • R Mashru
  • N H Vadia
Keywords: Vaginal delivery, microbicide delivery, solubility modifier, bioadhesion, formulation design.


Among the various routes of drug delivery, the vaginal route offers many advantages due to its large permeation area, rich vascularization, avoidance of first pass metabolism and relatively low enzymatic activity. Several studies have shown that the vaginal cavity is an effective route for drug administration intended mainly for local action. In addition, it has the potential of delivering drugs for systemic effects and uterine targeting. Use of the vaginal mucosa for drug absorption was first attempted by Sobrero and since then much research has been done on the administration of drugs through this route. In recent years, the level of interest in the design and application of different dosage forms for vaginal use has increased considerably. Vaginal drug delivery specifically refers to the delivery of drugs within or through the vaginal mucosa for local or systemic pharmacological action. The rate and extent of drug absorption after intravaginal administration may vary depending on vaginal physiology, age of the patient, stage in the menstrual cycle, pathological conditions and formulation factors. This review highlights the benefits and limitations of vaginal drug delivery, methodology in evaluation of vaginal drug delivery systems, pharmaceutical aspects and gives a summary of recent advances made in the field of vaginal drug delivery. The various dosage forms in different stages of development and in the market are also reviewed.

Keywords: Vaginal delivery, microbicide delivery, solubility modifier, bioadhesion; formulation design.

East and Central African Journal of Pharmaceutical Studies Vol. 10 (1) 2007: pp. 3-13

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eISSN: 1026-552X