Albendazole nanocrystal-based dissolving microneedles with improved pharmacokinetic performance for enhanced treatment of cystic echinococcosis

Andi Dian Permana, Alejandro J. Paredes, Fabiana Volpe Zanutto, Muh. Nur Amir, Ismail Ismail, Muh. Akbar Bahar, Sumarheni, Santiago Daniel Palma, Ryan F. Donnelly

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a zoonosis caused by Echinococcus spp., affecting both humans and animals’ lives. Current treatment of CE by oral administration of albendazole (ABZ) is hampered by several limitations. The poor aqueous solubility and the rapid metabolism of ABZ in the liver are the main issues, leading to lack of efficacy of the treatment. In the present study, we developed a nanocrystalline (NC) formulation of ABZ to be delivered intradermally using dissolving microneedles (DMNs). The NC formulation was developed using milling in an ultrasmall-scale device. Following several screenings, Pluronic F127 was selected as a suitable stabilizer, producing NCs with around 400 nm in size with narrow particle distribution. The crystallinity of ABZ was maintained as observed by DSC and XRD analysis. The NC approach was able to improve the dissolution percentage of ABZ by approximately three-fold. Furthermore, the incorporation of NCs into DMNs using the combination of poly(vinylpyrrolidone) and poly(vinyl alcohol) formed sharp needles with sufficient mechanical strength and insertion properties. Dermatokinetic studies revealed that >25% of ABZ was localized in the dermis of excised neonatal porcine skin up to 48 h after DMN administration. In in vivo pharmacokinetic studies, the AUC and relative bioavailability values of ABZ delivered by NC-loaded DMNs were found to be significantly higher than those obtained after oral administration of coarse suspension of ABZ or ABZ-NCs, as well as DMNs delivering coarse ABZ as indicated by the relative bioavailability values of >100%. Therefore, the combination approach developed in this study could maintain the systemic circulation of ABZ, which could be possibly caused by avoiding the first-pass metabolism in the liver. This could be beneficial to improve the efficacy of ABZ in CE treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38745–38760
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number32
Early online date05 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2021


  • General Materials Science


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