Nanopharmacy: Inorganic nanoscale devices as vectors and active compounds

Pharmacol Res. 2010 Aug;62(2):115-25. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2010.01.009. Epub 2010 Jan 25.


In this review we would like to aim at pharmaceuticals engineered on the nanoscale, i.e. pharmaceuticals where the nanomaterial plays the pivotal therapeutic role or adds additional functionality to the previous compound. Those cases would be considered as nanopharmaceuticals. The development of inorganic systems is opening the pharmaceutical nanotechnology novel horizons for diagnosis, imaging and therapy mainly because of their nanometer-size and their high surface area to volume ratios which allow for specific functions that are not possible in the micrometer-size particles. This review will focus on pharmaceutical forms that are based on inorganic nanoparticles where the nanosize of the inorganic component provides unique characteristics to the pharmaceutical form. Several examples of these systems that are either in pre-clinical investigation and under examination by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or that have been already approved by the FDA and are in clinical practice today like Gastromark, NanoTherm, Colloidal Gold for Lateral Flow tests, HfO-NPs, BioVant will be described and reviewed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Inorganic Chemicals / chemistry*
  • Nanomedicine / methods*
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / therapeutic use*
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Inorganic Chemicals
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations