Clotrimazole Loaded Ufosomes for Topical Delivery: Formulation Development and In-Vitro Studies

Molecules. 2019 Aug 29;24(17):3139. doi: 10.3390/molecules24173139.


Global incidence of superficial fungal infections caused by dermatophytes is high and affects around 40 million people. It is the fourth most common cause of infection. Clotrimazole, a broad spectrum imidazole antifungal agent is widely used to treat fungal infections. Conventional topical formulations of clotrimazole are intended to treat infections by effective penetration of drugs into the stratum corneum. However, drawbacks such as poor dermal bioavailability, poor penetration, and variable drug levels limit the efficiency. The present study aims to load clotrimazole into ufosomes and evaluate its topical bioavailability. Clotrimazole loaded ufosomes were prepared using cholesterol and sodium oleate by thin film hydration technique and evaluated for size, polydispersity index, and entrapment efficiency to obtain optimized formulation. Optimized formulation was characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Skin diffusion studies and tape-stripping were performed using human skin to determine the amount of clotrimazole accumulated in different layers of the skin. Results showed that the optimized formulation had vesicle size <250 nm with ~84% entrapment efficiency. XRD and DSC confirmed the entrapment of clotrimazole into ufosomes. No permeation was observed through the skin up to 24 h following the permeation studies. Tape-stripping revealed that ufosomes led to accumulation of more clotrimazole in the skin compared to marketed formulation (Perrigo). Overall, results revealed the capability of ufosomes in improving the skin bioavailability of clotrimazole.

Keywords: cholesterol; clotrimazole; permegear flow-through diffusion cells; sodium oleate; tape-stripping; topical; ufosomes.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Antifungal Agents / chemistry
  • Antifungal Agents / metabolism*
  • Cadaver
  • Cholesterol / chemistry
  • Clotrimazole / chemistry
  • Clotrimazole / metabolism*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / chemistry*
  • Diffusion Chambers, Culture
  • Drug Compounding / methods*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Oleic Acid / chemistry
  • Particle Size
  • Permeability
  • Skin / metabolism


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Liposomes
  • Oleic Acid
  • osteum
  • Cholesterol
  • Clotrimazole