Polymer-Fish oil bigel (hydrogel/oleogel colloidal mixture) was developed by using fish oil and natural (sodium alginate) and synthetic (hydroxypropyl methylcellulose) polymer for pharmaceutical purposes. The bigels were closely monitored and thermal, rheological and mechanical properties were compared with the conventional hydrogels for their potential use as an effective transdermal drug delivery vehicle. Stability of the fish oil fatty acids (especially eicosapentanoic acid, EPA and docosahexanoic acid, DHA) was determined by gas chromatography and the drug content (imiquimod) was assessed with liquid chromatography. Furthermore, in vitro permeation study was conducted to determine the capability of the fish oil-bigels as transdermal drug delivery vehicle. The bigels showed pseudoplastic rheological features, with excellent mechanical properties (adhesiveness, peak stress and hardness), which indicated their excellent spreadability for application on the skin. Bigels prepared with mixture of sodium alginate and fish oil (SB1 and SB2), and the bigels prepared with the mixture of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and fish oil (HB1-HB3) showed high cumulative permeation and drug flux compared to hydrogels. Addition of fish oil proved to be beneficial in increasing the drug permeation and the results were statistically significant (p < 0.05, one-way Anova, SPSS 20.0). Thus, it can be concluded that bigel formulations could be used as an effective topical and transdermal drug delivery vehicle for pharmaceutical purposes.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.