Artemether and lumefantrine dissolving microneedle patches with improved pharmacokinetic performance and antimalarial efficacy in mice infected with Plasmodium yoelii

Fabiana Volpe-Zanutto, Letícia Tiburcio Ferreira, Andi Dian Permana, Melissa Kirkby, Alejandro J. Paredes, Lalitkumar K. Vora, Amanda Bonfanti, Ives Charlie-Silva, Catarina Raposo, Mariana C. Figueiredo, Ilza M.O. Souza, Andi Brisibe, Fabio Trindade Maranhão Costa, Ryan F. Donnelly, Mary Ann Foglio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Malaria affects more than 200 million people annually around the world, killing a child every 2 min. Artemether (ART) and lumefantrine (LUM) are the gold standard choice to treat uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria; however, they are hydrophobic compounds with low oral bioavailability. Microneedle (MN) arrays consist of micron-sized needles on one side of a supporting base and have the ability to bypass the skin's stratum corneum barrier in a minimally invasive way, creating temporary channels through which drugs can diffuse, including those with poor water solubility. Herein, we report the development of dissolving MNs (DMNs) containing ART (MN-ART) and LUM (MN-LUM) as an alternative treatment regimen for malaria in low-resource settings. To incorporate the drugs into the MNs, nanosuspensions (NSs) for both molecules were developed separately to enhance drug solubility. The NSs were freeze-dried and the powder form was incorporated directly in an aqueous polymeric blend with poly-vinyl-pyrrolidone for MN-ART and a sodium hyaluronate hydrogel for MN-LUM. The in vivo bioavailability studies were performed using a MN reapplication scheme (1 × a day for 3 days), illustrating that an extended-release profile was achieved for both drugs when MNs were applied intradermally, and when compared to conventional oral treatment. The ART-LUM oral treatment was used as a positive control. For antimalarial activity, studies with animals infected with 106 Plasmodium yoelii 17XNL (12 days) were also conducted using female C57BL/6JUnib mice, demonstrating a 99.5% reduction in parasitemia by day 12 post-infection. By abolishing the infection, MN-ART and MN-LUM may serve as a promising controlled intradermal delivery device for antimalarial drugs to be explored in endemic areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-315
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Volume333
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2021

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