Development, Pre-clinical Investigation and Histopathological Evaluation of Metronidazole Loaded Topical Formulation for Treatment of Skin Inflammatory Disorders

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Background: Metronidazole (MTZ) is an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent with beneficial therapeutic properties. The hydrophilic nature of the molecule limits its penetration across the skin. Existing commercial formulations have limitations of inadequate drug concentration present at the target site, which requires frequent administration and poor patient compliance. Objective: The aim of the current study was to develop and evaluate water in oil microemulsion of Metronidazole with higher skin retention for the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders. Methods: Pseudo ternary phase diagrams were used in order to select the appropriate ratio of sur-factant and co-surfactant and identify the microemulsion area. The selected formulation consisted of Capmul MCM as oil, Tween 20 and Span 20 as surfactant and co-surfactant, respectively, and water. The formulation was characterized and evaluated for stability, Ex vivo permeation studies and in vivo anti-inflammatory effect (carrageenan induced rat paw edema, air pouch model), anti-p-soriatic activity (mouse-tail test). Results: The particle size analyses revealed the average diameter and polydispersity index of the selected formulation to be 16 nm and 0.373, respectively. The results of ex vivo permeation studies showed statistically higher mean cumulative amount of MTZ retained in rat skin from microemul-sion, i.e., 21.90 ± 1.92 µg/cm2, which was 6.65 times higher as compared to Marketed gel (Metro-gyl gel®) with 3.29 ± 0.11 µg/cm2 (p<0.05). The results of in vivo studies suggested the microemul-sion based formulation of MTZ to be similar in efficacy to Metrogyl gel®. Conclusion: Research suggests the efficacy of the developed MTZ loaded microemulsion in the treatment of chronic skin inflammatory disorders.