Microneedles for Extended Transdermal Therapeutics: A Route to Advanced Healthcare

Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2021 Feb;159:151-169. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2020.12.020. Epub 2020 Dec 31.


Sustained release of drugs over a pre-determined period is required to maintain an effective therapeutic dose for variety of drug delivery applications. Transdermal devices such as polymeric microneedle patches and other microneedle-based devices have been utilized for sustained release of their payload. Swift clearing of drugs can be prevented either by designing a slow-degrading polymeric matrix or by providing physiochemical triggers to different microneedle-based devices for on-demand release. These long-acting transdermal devices prevent the burst release of drugs. This review highlights the recent advances of microneedle-based devices for sustained release of vaccines, hormones, and antiretrovirals with their prospective safe clinical translation.

Keywords: Detachable microneedles; Long-acting microneedles; On-demand drug-delivery; Polymer microneedles; Sustained drug-delivery; Vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / pharmacokinetics
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Drug Compounding / methods
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Drug Liberation
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Needles
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Solubility
  • Transdermal Patch*


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Drug Carriers
  • Polymers