Transdermal iontophoresis revisited

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2000 Aug;4(4):468-73. doi: 10.1016/s1367-5931(00)00111-3.


Iontophoresis evolved as a transdermal enhancement technique in the 20th century, primarily for the delivery of large and charged molecules. Significant achievements have been made in the understanding of underlying mechanisms of iontophoresis and these have contributed to the rational development of iontophoretic delivery systems. The major challenges in this area are the development of portable, cost effective devices and suitable semi-solid formulations that are compatible with the device and the skin. Some of the obstacles in transdermal iontophoresis can be overcome by combining iontophoresis with other physical and chemical enhancement techniques for the delivery of macromolecules. Iontophoresis also offers an avenue for extracting information from the body through the use of reverse iontophoresis, which has potential application in diagnosis and monitoring. The current research is focussed towards resolving the skin toxicity issues and other problems in order to make this technology a commercial reality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Humans
  • Iontophoresis / methods*