The role of microneedles for drug and vaccine delivery

Helen L. Quinn, Mary-Carmel Kearney, Aaron J. Courtenay, Maeliosa T. C. McCrudden, Ryan F. Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Transdermal drug delivery offers a number of advantages for the patient, not only due to its non-invasive and convenient nature, but also due to factors such as avoidance of first-pass metabolism and prevention of gastrointestinal degradation. It has been demonstrated that microneedles (MNs) can increase the number of compounds amenable to transdermal delivery by penetrating the skin’s protective barrier, the stratum corneum, and creating a pathway for drug permeation to the dermal tissue below.

Areas covered: MNs have been extensively investigated for drug and vaccine delivery. The different types of MN arrays and their delivery capabilities are discussed in terms of drugs, including biopharmaceutics and vaccines. Patient usage and effects on the skin are also considered.

Expert opinion: MN research and development is now at the stage where commercialisation is a viable possibility. There are a number of long-term safety questions relating to patient usage which will need to be addressed moving forward. Regulatory guidance is awaited to direct the scale-up of the manufacturing process alongside provision of clearer patient instruction for safe and effective use of MN devices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1769-1780
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Delivery
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished online - 14 Jul 2014


  • drug delivery
  • microneedle
  • skin
  • transdermal
  • vaccine


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