The percutaneous absorption of ionisable compounds
The effects of ionisation on transdermal drug delivery using excised human epidermis (HS) and silastic rubber (SR) as model permeation barriers were investigated in vitro using Franz-type absorption cells. Suspensions and solutions of salicylic acid (SA), the model ionogenic permeant, were used as donors and the variables studied were vehicle pH and trans-membrane pH-gradients. For solutions, the pH effect was related to the level of ionisation of the drug and the degree of saturation of the solution. With suspensions, the observed permeation rate was unaffected by pH. The penetration profiles through HS and SR were similar, although the overall flux through HS was about 70% of that observed through SR. Pretreatment of the membranes with various enhancer regimens, including oleic acid, Azone and N, N-dimethylamides in propylene glycol (PG) and isopropyl myristate (IPM) promoted the penetration of SA. SR was not a suitable model for enhancer pretreatment using IPM as a vehicle as the membrane was significantly disrupted by this vehicle. The results from comparable experiments with and without a trans-membrane pH-gradient did not have a significant effect upon flux or flux enhancement after pretreatment with the above enhancers. A theoretical model for the expectation coefficients of weak acids was derived using the partition coefficients of the ionised and unionised species, pH and pKa. This model was shown to account for the variation in overall partition of salicylic acid dependent upon pH and pKa. The distribution of this solute between aqueous and oily phases, with and without added enhancer, was measured as a function of pH. The extraction coefficients determined were consistent with the model.