Transdermal Route: A Viable Option for Systemic Delivery of Antidepressants

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The high rise in the population suffering from depression depicts the need for improved and highly effective treatment options for this condition. Efforts to develop existing drugs into user-friendly dosage forms with a number of advantages in major depressive states, including but not limited to: sustained drug release, reduced drug dosing frequency, improved tolerance and adherence, suitability for use in diverse populations and different treatment scenarios, as well as less central nervous system side effects are required. One such non-invasive drug delivery route that could provide the aforementioned benefits in the treatment of depression is the transdermal route. A number of conventional and emerging transdermal delivery strategies have been investigated for some potent antidepressants and results depict the potential of this route as a viable means for systemic delivery of therapeutically relevant doses of the tested agents, with Emsam®, the commercially available patch of selegiline, being an evidence for the same. The investigated approaches include the formulation of transdermal patches, use of vesicular drug carriers, pro-drug approach, microemulsification, chemical as well as physical enhancement technologies. This review provides a comprehensive account of the rationale, developments made till date, scope and future prospects of delivering antidepressants via the transdermal1 route of administration.