Ethosomes: New prospects in transdermal delivery

Biana Godin, Elka Touitou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

219 Scopus citations


Ethosomes are noninvasive delivery carriers that enable drugs to reach the deep skin layers and/or the systemic circulation. Although ethosomal systems are conceptually sophisticated, they are characterized by simplicity in their preparation, safety, and efficacy - a combination that can highly expand their application. Ethosomes are soft, malleable vesicles tailored for enhanced delivery of active agents. This article reviews work carried out in vitro, in vivo, in animal models, and in humans with various ethosomal systems incorporating a wide range of drugs. Because of their unique structure, ethosomes are able to encapsulate and deliver through the skin highly lipophilic molecules such as cannabinoids, testosterone, and minoxidil, as well as cationic drugs such as propranolol and trihexyphenidil. Results obtained in a double-blind two-armed randomized clinical study showed that treatment with the ethosomal acyclovir formulation significantly improved all the evaluated parameters. Preliminary studies with plasmids and insulin revealed that the ethosomal carrier may be used for enhanced delivery of these agents. In further work, the ethosomal technology was broadened to introduce agents into cultured cells and microorganisms. Enhanced delivery of bioactive molecules through the skin and cellular membranes by means of an ethosomal carrier opens numerous challenges and opportunities for the research and future development of novel improved therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-102
Number of pages40
JournalCritical Reviews in Therapeutic Drug Carrier Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 11 2003


  • Dermal delivery
  • Liposomes
  • Permeation enhancement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethosomes: New prospects in transdermal delivery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this