Research Highlight

Delivering painkiller through skin

doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.160 Published online 29 October 2012

Researchers have devised a novel membrane-like drug carrier to deliver the painkiller diclofenac sodium through skin. The researchers synthesized the drug carrier using nanocomposites made from guargum, acrylic acid and nanosilica.

This new drug carrier is capable of releasing the painkiller slowly over a prolonged period through skin, potentially reducing painkiller-induced adverse effects while treating arthritic diseases.

Although guargum-based hydrogels have been designed, no study has identified transdermal drug delivery techniques for diclofenac sodium. The researchers prepared nanocomposite membranes mixing acrylic acid grafted guargum with varying concentrations of nanosilica. The drug-release efficacy of the nanocomposites was explored and compared with guargum alone and acrylic acid-grafted guargum using diclofenac sodium. For this experiment, they used a Franz diffusion cell, a device mimicking drug delivery through human skin.

Biocompatibility of the nanocomposites was studied by growing several bacterial strains on them. The nanocomposite membrane was able to retain 68% diclofenac and release 32% even after 20 hours. The biocompatibility test revealed good skin compatibility for the nanocomposite.

"Diclofenac is a common painkiller, but overdose due to multiple oral administrations can damage the gastrointestinal tract and renal system. Instead, sustained delivery through transdermal patches can be a viable solution," says lead researcher Abhijit Bandyopadhyay.

The authors of this work are from: Department of Polymer Science and Technology, University of Calcutta, Calcutta, West Bengal, KIIT School of Biotechnology, KIIT University Campus-XI, Patia, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, Disciplines of Inorganic Materials and Catalysis, Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar, Gujarat, and Department of Applied Chemistry, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India.


  1. Giri, A. et al. Acrylic acid grafted guargum–nanosilica membranes for transdermal diclofenac delivery. Carbohydr. Polymer. 91, 492-501 (2013) | Article |