The nasal approach to delivering treatment for brain diseases: an anatomic, physiologic, and delivery technology overview

Ther Deliv. 2014 Jun;5(6):709-33. doi: 10.4155/tde.14.41.


The intricate pathophysiology of brain disorders, difficult access to the brain, and the complexity and high risks and costs of drug development represent major hurdles for improving therapies. Nose-to-brain drug transport offers an attractive alternative or addition to formulation-only strategies attempting to enhance drug penetration into the CNS. Although still a matter of controversy, many studies in animals claim direct nose-to-brain transport along the olfactory and trigeminal nerves, circumventing the traditional barriers to CNS entry. Some clinical trials in man also suggest nose-to-brain drug delivery, although definitive proof in man is lacking. This review focuses on new nasal delivery technologies designed to overcome inherent anatomical and physiological challenges and facilitate more efficient and targeted drug delivery for CNS disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Brain Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Nasal Mucosa / innervation
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers