Prolonged skin retention of clobetasol propionate by bio-based microemulsions: a potential tool for scalp psoriasis treatment

<p>Novel effective and cosmetically acceptable formulations are needed for the treatment of scalp psoriasis, due to the poor efficacy of the current products. The challenge in developing safe, efficient, and convenient delivery systems for this drug was addressed in the present work by formulating clobetasol propionate-loaded W/O microemulsions (MEs). Pseudo-ternary phase diagrams were constructed by using a combination of biocompatible and biodegradable excipients. Characterization studies demonstrated that selected MEs had suitable technological features such as being Newtonian fluids, possessing low viscosity, and high thermodynamic stability. Photomicrographs showed a significant alteration of the skin structure after treatment with MEs, and a preferential concentration of these in the <i>stratum corneum</i> and epidermis. These data, together with <i>ex vivo</i> permeation results, suggested an enhanced topical targeted effect due to an increased drug retention efficacy in the upper skin layers, as desired. Moreover, the bio-based excipients selected could contribute to the healing of the psoriatic scalp. In this way, the improvement of clobetasol efficacy is combined with the useful properties of the microemulsion components and with environmental safety.</p>