Recent advances in the design of polymeric microneedles for transdermal drug delivery and biosensing

Lab Chip. 2017 Apr 11;17(8):1373-1387. doi: 10.1039/c7lc00016b.


Microneedles are an efficient and minimally invasive approach to transdermal drug delivery and extraction of skin interstitial fluid. Compared to solid microneedles made of silicon, metals and ceramics, polymeric microneedles have attracted extensive attention due to their excellent biocompatibility, biodegradability and nontoxicity. They are easy to fabricate in large scale and can load drugs in high amounts. More importantly, polymers with different degradation profiles, swelling properties, and responses to biological/physical stimuli can be employed to fabricate polymeric microneedles with different mechanical properties and performance. This review provides a guideline for the selection of polymers and the corresponding fabrication methods for polymeric microneedles while summarizing their recent application in drug delivery and fluid extraction. It should be noted that although polymeric microneedles can achieve efficient transdermal delivery of drugs, their wide applications were limited by their unsatisfactory transdermal therapeutic efficiency. Delivery of nanomedicines that incorporate drugs into functional nanoparticles/capsules can address this problem and thus may be an interesting direction in the future.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Drug Delivery Systems / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microinjections / instrumentation*
  • Needles*
  • Polymers*


  • Polymers