Recent approaches for enhancing the performance of dissolving microneedles in drug delivery applications

Dissolving microneedles (dMNs) are promising versatile drug delivery systems for the transdermal delivery of numerous drugs, enabling their use in a wide range of biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. Being made of water-soluble polymers, dMNs own several advantages, including fast dissolution and short application time which enhance patients’ compliance and minimize the damage to skin tissue. Moreover, they possess no biohazard risk as they leave no sharp waste behind.

For these reasons, the research on dMNs has increased dramatically in recent years. The formulation of successful dMNs requires a well-defined pre-set design, considering the goal and the payloads that will be used. Every aspect of formulation as patch design, needles geometry, polymer composition, method of formation and payloads, has a direct effect on the mechanical properties of the MNs, affecting their administration and efficacy. Thus, there is the need to understand how each factor affects the final formulation and how to optimize each MN. Taking this into consideration, this review serves as a guide for dMN formulation, discussing the different setbacks of each step and possible strategies to overcome them, improving their administration, and enhancing the loading of various molecules and their controlled release.

Table 1. Common polymers for the preparation of dissolving MNs.a

PolymerOther compositionsLoaded bioactive agentMNs applicationRef.
HAMagnesium ascorbyl phosphate[30]
MethotrexateTreatment of psoriasis [31]
MN-combined with bacterial nanocellulose as the back layer.Rutin (model drug) [32]
Green tea extractWound healing [33]
AdenosineImprove skin wrinkles, dermal density, and elasticity [34]
Sodium hyaluronate/ composite MNs chitosanOvalbumin (model antigen) Intradermal immunization [35]
MNs containing curcumin-loaded micelles Curcumin[36]
MNs loaded with near-infrared responsive PEGylated gold nanorodDoxorubicinHuman epidermoid cancer therapy [38]
5-Aminolevulinic Acid Photodynamic therapy of superficial tumors [39]
Sumatriptan Succinate Migraine[40]
GentamicinNeonatal sepsis[41]
Alginate and hyaluronateInsulinDiabetes[42]
IgGIntradermal protein delivery [44]
PVPCopolymer polyvinylpyrrolidone-co-methacrylic acid (PVP-MAA)Allergen extractsSkin allergy test[45]
Sinomenine hydrochloride Anti-inflammatory [47]
Fluorescein sodium and fluorescein isothiocyanate–dextrans (model drugs) Intraocular drug delivery [16]
Chitosan nanoparticles-loaded MNs A model antigen, ovalbumin (OVA), and an adjuvant, CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG). [48]
Cellulose derivatives CMCOvalbumin Vaccination[49]
CMC /powder-carrying MNs FinasterideAndrogenetic alopecia [51]
HPCCyclosporin A[52]
HPMC/PVPAlpha-Arbutin [53]
ChitosanBovine serum albumin Transdermal Delivery of Macromolecules [54]
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) Wound healing [55]
Chitosan MNs and a poly(l-lactide-co-d,l-lactide) (PLA) supporting array OvalbuminVaccination[56]
Thiolated chitosan MNs TacrolimusImmunosuppression[57]
MeloxicamPain management in cattle [58]
Ovalbumin Vaccination[59]
Luteinizing Hormone-releasing Hormone Androgen Deprivation Therapy for lethal prostate cancer [60]
AlginateAlginate and maltoseInsulinDiabetes[61]
Bovine Serum Albumin [62]
Glucose-responsive gold nanocluster-loaded MNs InsulinDiabetes[63]
silk fibroin InsulinDiabetes[64]
Chemotherapeutic agents (thrombin and temozolomide) and targeted drug (bevacizumab) [65]
Influenza vaccine Vaccination[66]
PVADoxorubicin Cancer[67]
PVA/PVP Bovine serum albumin Macromolecules delivery [68]
PVA/PVP InsulinDiabetes[69]
Cholecalciferol nanosuspension-loaded MNs (PVA or PVP) CholecalciferolLoading of hydrophobic drug [70]
PVA/maltose microneedleSinomenine hydrochloride Rheumatoid arthritis [71]

Download the full study as PDF here: Recent approaches for enhancing the performance of dissolving microneedles in drug delivery applications

or read it here

Tomás Bauleth-Ramos, Nesma El-Sayed, Flavia Fontana, Maria Lobita, Mohammad-Ali Shahbazi, Hélder A. Santos, Recent approaches for enhancing the performance of dissolving microneedles in drug delivery applications, Materials Today, 2023, ISSN 1369-7021,

See also two other interesting artices on microneedles published lately:


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