There is scarce information concerning the pharmacodynamic behavior of topical substances used in the physiotherapy setting. The aim of the present study was to estimate the formation and emptying of the diclofenac (DF) skin reservoir after passive, semiocclusive, and electrically assisted applications of DF.
Five different groups of healthy volunteers (n total=60, 23 male and 37 female), participated in this study. A 1% DF (Voltaren Emulgel) formulation (12 mg) was applied on the volar forearms on randomized defined circular skin areas of 7 cm 2. DF was applied for 20 minutes under three different conditions at the same time. The presence of DF in the skin results in a reduction of the methyl nicotinate (MN) response. To estimate the bioavailability of DF in the skin, MN responses at different times following initial DF application (1.5, 6, 24, 32, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hours) were analyzed.
At 1.5 hours after the initial DF application, a significant decrease in MN response was detected for the occluded and iontophoretic delivery. Passive application resulted in a decrease of the MN response from 6 hours post-DF application. The inhibition remained up to 32 hours post-DF application for the iontophoretic delivery, 48 hours for the occluded application, and 72 hours for the passive delivery. At 96 and 120 hours post-DF application none of the MN responses was inhibited.