Ethosomal systems are novel lipid vesicular carriers containing a relatively high percentage of ethanol. These nanocarriers are especially designed for the efficient delivery of therapeutic agents with different physicochemical properties into deep skin layers and across the skin. Ethosomes have undergone extensive research since they were invented in 1996; new compounds were added to their initial formula, which led to the production of new types of ethosomal systems. Different preparation techniques are used in the preparation of these novel carriers. For ease of application and stability, ethosomal dispersions are incorporated into gels, patches, and creams. Highly diverse in vivo models are used to evaluate their efficacy in dermal/transdermal delivery, in addition to clinical trials. This article provides a detailed review of the ethosomal systems and categorizes them on the basis of their constituents to classical ethosomes, binary ethosomes, and transethosomes. The differences among these systems are discussed from several perspectives, including the formulation, size, ζ-potential (zeta potential), entrapment efficiency, skin-permeation properties, and stability. This paper gives a detailed review on the effects of ethosomal system constituents, preparation methods, and their significant roles in determining the final properties of these nanocarriers. Furthermore, the novel pharmaceutical dosage forms of ethosomal gels, patches, and creams are highlighted. The article also provides detailed information regarding the in vivo studies and clinical trials conducted for the evaluation of these vesicular systems.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.