Conclusions

Transdermal delivery has a number of advantages which can be of considerable value, most notably the ability to provide uniform plasma levels for considerable periods of time and avoidance of first-pass elimination. It also has disadvantages which are common to other delivery routes, such as intersubject variability and susceptibility to diseased states at the absorption site. At present, however, its main disadvantage is that only low plasma levels of drug can be maintained, and so it is limited to highly active drugs.

Despite these problems it is currently the optimal route for several compounds, and a number of commercial devices are well-established. It appears that transdermal delivery will be a valuable option in the development of future drug delivery systems.

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