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The aim of this study was to determine if transdermal penetration of fenoterol, a β-agonist drug, could be enhanced and controlled by formulation modification and formulation of transdermal patches. Pre-formulation studies were performed to determine the feasibility of a transdermal dosage form of fenoterol. Penetration of fenoterol was determined using the hairless guinea pig skin with unjacketed Franz diffusion cell. Transdermal patches were formulated using drug in-adhesive technique. Several enhancers were investigated for fenoterol skin penetration. Transcutol–oleic acid co-solvent gives the highest drug flux among all tested liquid formulations. Pretreatment of the skin with oleic acid 2 h before patch application significantly increases drug diffusion. Cis-oleic acid gives best results compared to oleic acid. Azone derivative (1-dodecyl-2-pyrrolidinone) gives the highest drug diffusion amongst all tested enhancers. Results of this study show the feasibility of using fenoterol formulated in transdermal delivery system in the treatment of chronic asthma to improve patient compliance, bioavailability and reduce the inter-subject variability.

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