Design of Finasteride-Loaded Nanoparticles for Potential Treatment of Alopecia
Background/Aims: Androgenetic alopecia is an extremely common dermatological disorder affecting both men and women. Oral finasteride (FNS), a synthetic 4-aza-3-oxosteroid compound with poor aqueous solubility, blocks the peripheral conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in a significant reduction in DHT concentration, achieving satisfactory results in alopecia treatment. However, its oral intake generally causes severe side effects. Considering that there is currently no scientifically proven treatment, new drug delivery systems able to improve alopecia therapy are urgently required. Methods: In this study, polymeric nanoparticles have been proposed as a new carrier for topical delivery of FNS in hair follicles. Results and Conclusions: Polymeric nanoparticles, prepared by using a modified method of the emulsification/solvent diffusion, showed a mean particle size around 300 nm, which may be sufficient for reaching the dermis and hair follicles and negative zeta potential values. Scanning electron microscope measurements showed that all the polymeric nanoparticles exhibited a spherical shape and a smooth surface regardless of their composition. A high encapsulation efficiency was achieved for FNS (79.49 ± 0.47%). In vitro release assays in physiological conditions demonstrated that nanoparticles yielded a prolonged release of FNS for 3 h. Skin assays through an in vitro permeation study demonstrated that nanoparticles had low levels of penetration of FNS, improving its time residence onto the skin. All excipients used in nanoparticle composition and in 3 different vehicles were safe. These results suggest that the proposed novel formulation presents several good characteristics indicating its suitability for dermal delivery of FNS for alopecia treatment.