Antibiofilm Effects of Macrolide Loaded Microneedle Patches: Prospects in Healing Infected Wounds

Muhammad Sohail Arshad, Aleema Tehreem Zahra, Saman Zafar, Hussain Zaman, Ambreen Akhtar, Muhammad Mazhar Ayaz, Israfil Kucuk, Mohammed Maniruzzaman, Ming-Wei Chang, Zeeshan Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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AIM: The aim of this study was to fabricate polymeric microneedles, loaded with macrolides (erythromycin, azithromycin), using hyaluronic acid and polyvinyl pyrollidone.

METHODS: These microneedles were fabricated using a vacuum micromolding technique. The integrity of the microneedle patches was studied by recording their morphologic features, folding endurance, swelling and micro-piercing. Physicochemical characteristics were studied by differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis and fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. In-vitro drug release, antibiofilm and effect of microneedle patch on wound healing were also studied to confirm the efficacy of the formulations.

RESULTS: Formulated patches displayed acceptable folding endurance (>100) and uniform distribution of microneedles (10 × 10) that can penetrate parafilm. Differential scanning calorimetry results depict a decrease in the crystallinity of macrolides following their incorporation in to a polymer matrix. Percentage release of azithromycin and erythromycin from the polymeric patch formulations (over 30 min) was 90% and 63% respectively. Broadly, the zone of bacterial growth inhibition follows the same order for Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica. After 5 days of treatment with azithromycin patches, the wound healing was complete and skin structure (e.g. hair follicles and dermis) was regenerated.

CONCLUSION: It was concluded that azithromycin loaded microneedle patches can be used to treat biofilms in the infected wounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-177
Number of pages13
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 3 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan under National Research Program for Universities (NRPU) vide No: 7401/Punjab/NRPU/R&D/HEC/2017. The authors have no conflict of interests.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature.


  • azithromycin
  • biofilm
  • erythromycin
  • macrolide
  • microneedles
  • transdermal


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