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Palm oil is widely us as a cooking oil and also as a vegetable shortening. Palm oil is a
form of edible vegetable oil obtained from the fruit of Elaeis Guineensis. Currently,
Malaysia accounts for almost 50% of world palm oil production (Sarmidi et al., 2009).
Palm oil contains free fatty acids, sterols, tocopherols, hydrocarbons, pigments,
vitamins and many other components. Therefore, Palm oil has wide applications for
the production of high value products for pharmaceutical, food and chemical
industries (Sarmidi et al., 2009). There is a growing interest in replacing petroleum-
based ingredients with natural materials, such as long and medium chain triglycerides,
and alkyl esters because of their many advantages. Natural oils and their derivatives
are renewable, biodegradable, harmless to the environment, and less of an irritant to
the users (Hamilton, 1993; Leysen, 1992).

Palm oils are used as excipients in the formulation of cosmetics and


pharmaceuticals in the form of its oil or its derivatives. For example palm oil ester has
been used as as oil phase in the preparation of palm based nanoemulsion for topical
nanocosmeceutical (Teo et al., 2010) due to palm oil¶s emollient effect which help to
maintain the desired smooth, soft and paliable structure texture of normal human skin.
By such means protection is provided against dryness and irritation (Kalustian 1985).
In 1993, Sharma and co-workers presented an invention which is directed to a novel
method and composition for enhancing the penetration of a drug through skin. The
invention is premised on the discovery that certain vegetable oils used individually or
in combination are effective in enhancing the penetration of pharmacologically active
agents through the skin.

Ketoprofen is a highly potent and safe nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug of


the propionic acid derivative group and has been widely used in clinical practice for
the control of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (Kantor 1986). However, it
accompanies adverse side effects including gastrointestinal irritation when
administered orally. Since ketoprofen is usually given to patients over an extended
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period, efforts to reduce its adverse side effects have been attempted. One promising
method is to administer the drug is via the skin. The transdermal route has been
recognized as one of the highly potential routes of systemic drug delivery and
provides the advantage of avoidance of the first-pass effect, ease of use and
withdrawal (in case of side effects), and better patient compliance. Ketoprofen is an
excellent candidate for transdermal delivery among various NSAIDs (Cordero et al.,
1977) and several transdermal delivery dosage forms containing ketoprofen have been
reported. For example transdermals patch (Kawamura et al., 2003) and gel (Mangione
et al., 2007). However, the major limitation of this route is the difficulty of permeation
of drug through the skin (Sinha & Kaul 2000). The limitation lies in the barrier
properties of the stratum corneum (SC). An efficient method to circumvent the barrier
function of the skin is to select a penetration enhancer that will increase the
permeability of the SC (Gupta et al., 2005).

In this study, palm oil-based nanoemulsion was developed as a transdermal


delivery agent in attempt to improve and enhance the ketoprofen release
Nanoemulsion is chosen as the transdermal dosage form because it is a promising
novel dosage form in terms of controlling droplet size, relatively long-term stability
and powerful solubilization ability. Nano-emulsions are fine oil-in-water dispersions,
having droplet covering the size range of 100±600 nm (K. Bouchemal et al., 2004)

The aim of this study was to formulate the nanoemulsion containing


ketoprofen as a model drug and palm oil as the oil phase and evaluates the release and
transfer of ketoprofen by in vitro in Franz diffusion cells through methyl acetate
cellulose membrane. The results obtained could be used to predict the enhancing
effect of palm oil and the suitability of the dosage form formulated for transdermal
drug delivery.