Antonella Casiraghi

University of Milan, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (40)81.39 Total impact

  • Francesco Cilurzo · Antonella Casiraghi · Francesca Selmin · Paola Minghetti
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    ABSTRACT: Supersaturated systems have attracted interest to enhance the skin penetration because of the low cost and reduced risks of irritation with respect to other approaches. The mechanism is simply based on the increased drug driving force for transit out of the dosage form and penetrate the stratum corneum. Supersaturated systems can be obtained by preparation of solvent/non-solvent mixtures; or mixtures containing a skin penetrating solvent or a volatile solvent, and quenching. All methods are described to obtain solutions or semisolid preparations; meanwhile the solvent evaporation and quenching can be used in the transdermal patch production. The adopted formulative strategies can increase the drug concentration in the vehicle 5-fold the solubility and the corresponding increment of the thermodynamic activity determines a significant increase of the drug flux through the skin, according to the Fick's law. The main limitation of supersaturated systems is related to their thermodynamic instability that, leading to drug crystallization in the vehicle, affects the drug skin penetration. Among the possible strategies to avoid or retard this issue the use of polymeric materials appears the most efficacious. However, the crystallization of a drug during storage and/or application on the skin is driven by so many factors that the stability of supersaturated systems is unpredictable. This paper offers a comprehensive review of the literature with the aim to underline the "pros and cons" of the application of supersaturation in transdermal delivery in the light of the theoretical aspects.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Current pharmaceutical design
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    ABSTRACT: Aim: Although propranolol is widely used in the treatment of infantile hemangiomas, the standard 40 mg tablet needs to be fractioned to obtain 10 mg parts, with even lower doses (i.e., 2-3 mg/kg/day divided into 2-3 daily doses) required in infants. This study evaluated the weight and dose uniformity in split quarters of propranolol tablets. Methods: Twenty pharmacy students split 70 propranolol tablets by using a kitchen knife in order to obtain 200 quarters, which were considered integral and adequate for administration. Intact tablets and quarters were weighed. The content of propranolol in tablet quarters was determined on 200 quarters by using high performance liquid chromatography. Results: Overall, 265 parts (94.6%) were integral and 213 (76.1%) were considered as adequate for administration. The mean (± standard deviation) weight of quarters judged as suitable and non-suitable for administration was 49.56 ± 5.27 mg and 46.24 ± 7.53 mg, respectively. Splitting caused a mean weight loss in each tablet of 2.97 ± 2.91 mg (median 2.06 mg). The percentage of quarters with weight lower than theoretical was 55.88%, and the remaining weighted more than expected. The mean propranolol content in quarters was 9.52 ± 0.96 mg (median 9.42 mg, range 7.36-12.23 mg) and 42% of quarters were out of the ± 10% acceptance range. Conclusion: The manual splitting of propranolol 40 mg tablets produced a significant proportion of quarters not suitable for administration in children or with a weight and/or an active concentration outside of the required range. The availability of a pediatric oral solution of propranolol will reduce the risk of incorrect dosing.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Minerva pediatrica
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    ABSTRACT: Pharmaceutical preparations are medicines that the pharmacist makes for the special needs of the patients that the pharmaceutical industry can’t comply for economic and logistic reasons. Pharmacy compounding is still an important component of pharmacy practice and a valuable therapeutical service that is an integrant part of the modern health care system, but its legislation is not harmonized among European and US countries. In 2011 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted a Resolution on quality and safety assurance requirements for medicinal products prepared in pharmacies for the special needs of patients. Aim of this resolution is to harmonize quality assurance and standards for pharmacy-made medicinal products among European countries and to pass the gap in quality assurance and standards between preparation in pharmacies and medicines prepared by the pharmaceutical industry. This article will analyze the actual rules and technical norms that regulate compounding activity and the expectations resultants from the new European and US laws.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Health Policy
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To evaluate the feasibility of a transdermal patch containing propranolol (PR). Method: Skin penetration enhancers (SPEs) able to improve the skin permeability of PR were selected and a quality by design approach was applied to the development of the patch by a 2(4) full factorial design. The permeation profile of PR from the formulations was assessed in in vitro permeation studies performed by using Franz diffusion cells and human epidermis as membrane. Finally, skin irritation was evaluated by the Draize test. Results: N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) resulted as the best SPE: in addition, the critical factors influencing the PR diffusion through the human epidermis when loaded in the patch resulted in the matrix thickness (X1, p = 0.0957) and PR content (X3, p = 0.0004) which improved the flux; conversely, NMP lacked its enhancement effect when loaded in the patch and the increase in its concentration (X4, p = 0.006) affected the drug permeation through human epidermis. The flux of optimal formulation was 12.7 μg/cm(2)/h. On the basis of the steady-state concentration and clearance of PR, the estimated patch surface was 100-120 cm(2), since the activity of PR is related to its Senantiomer and no in vivo bioconversion occurs. Conclusion: A patch containing (S)-PR was prepared and the (S)-PR flux (13.3 μg/cm(2)/h) permitted to confirm the suitability of a transdermal administration of PR. In particular, the use of a 50 μm thick methacrylic matrix containing 8% (S)-PR and 15% NMP can allow to develop a patch non-irritating to the skin, in order to ensure a constant permeation flux of PR over 48 h.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy
  • A. Fratter · A. Semenzato · A. Casiraghi · P. Minghetti
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    ABSTRACT: Melatonin (5-methoxytryptamine) is a natural occurring molecule which exerts physiologic role of circadian sleep-wake cycle in humans. Melatonin is secreted from the pineal gland placed in the center of the brain, far from blood-brain barrier. Thanks to its ascertained safety in humans and low cost, melatonin is widely employed in the market of drugs and nutritional supplements mainly claiming its effectiveness in sleep-wake cycle regularization, anxiolytic and antioxidant activity. Over the last decades, melatonin bioavailability has been investigated in humans and animal models. Literature data pointed out a limited bioavailability of melatonin after oral intake, together with a high variability from subject to subject. This chapter describes, characterizes and preliminary assesses the effectiveness of a new nanoemulsified system for the sublingual administration of melatonin. The very small droplet size which characterizes this system, potentially allows melatonin to be delivered from a sublingual spray formulation which promotes its absorption through the lingual epithelium so reaching venous systemic circulation avoiding first liver passage through the portal circulation. It seems, in fact, that liver first passage express the main biochemical phenomena involved in the high clearance and relative low bioavailability of melatonin after oral assumption.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Food and Nutrition Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we report a case of misidentification of medicinal plants involving dried petals of Papaver rhoeas (red poppy) contaminated with Papaver bracteatum (scarlet poppy) petals. Preliminary TLC analysis indicated the presence of thebaine either in the fluid extracts or in the petals. It was therefore necessary to carry out an accurate botanic examination of the plant material, which revealed contamination of the red poppy petals with scarlet poppy petals. Moreover, to confirm the adulteration, we developed and validated an efficient, reversed-phase ion pair HPLC method for determination of the alkaloids specific for the Papaver species. Six petal batches and five commercial fluid extracts were analyzed. Only one petal batch from Iran contained thebaine and its analogue oripavine while the alkaloids typical for the Papaver bracteatum species were identified in all fluid extracts, meaning that they were all prepared with contaminated petals.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Planta Medica
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of a homologue series of nonionic surfactants, namely poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) fatty acid esters, differing in oxyethylene (PEG 8, PEG 12, and PEG 40) and fatty acid (stearate, mono and di-laurate, and mono and di-oleate) chain lengths, on in vitro skin permeability of ketoprofen (KTP) vehicled in plasters was investigated. The drug diffusion through hairless mouse skin as well as the effect of the surfactant type and strength was studied by Franz diffusion cells and ATR-FTIR spectroscopy. The use of PEG stearate series revealed that the surfactant with the largest polar head, namely PEG 40, was ineffective in enhancing the skin permeation of KTP, independently of the plaster concentrations. The effect of the hydrophobic chain was investigated only by using the shortest oxyethylene chains. The experimental results revealed that the oxyethylene chain length of surfactants appeared to be more influent than the alkyl chain. The prediction of the absorption enhancing capability of these PEG derivatives appeared related to the vehicle other than the proper combination of the number of ethylene oxide groups and alkyl groups.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · AAPS PharmSciTech
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    ABSTRACT: A novel poly(sodium methacrylate, methylmethacrylate) hydrophilic pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) containing a large amount of water was designed. The effects of PEG400, glycerin, sorbitol, and/or NaCl on the in vitro and in vivo adhesive properties were investigated by means of a 2(4) full factorial design. The optimized formulation, containing all independent variables at the highest value, was loaded with lidocaine hydrochloride (LH). This formulation permitted to obtain a 4-fold higher LH flux through human skin with respect to the marketed products.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Drug Delivery
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    ABSTRACT: The in vitro passive diffusion of S-ibuprofen (S-IB) and RS-ibuprofen (RS-IB) through human epidermis was determined to study the effects of drug chirality. S-IB has a lower melting point (T(m)=54 degrees C) than RS-IB (T(m)=77 degrees C) and, therefore, a greater solubility (S-IB: 127+/-1 microg/mL; RS-IB: 81+/-1 microg/mL). Supersaturated plasters were prepared by using a poly(dimethylsiloxane) adhesive and Eugragit RL and propylene glycol as antinucleant agents. The in vitro skin permeation profiles were determined by Franz cells and human epidermis obtained from three different donors. The permeation profiles of S-IB from saturated solutions resulted statistically higher than those of RS-IB (p<0.002). When plasters were used, no differences were noticeable between the enantiomer and racemate (p>0.17). The latter unexpected results could be explained considering that the RS-IB or S-IB in vitro release rate constants, determined using 3% w/w or 6% w/w loaded plasters, were not statistically different, suggesting that the drug diffusivity within the adhesive matrix represented the rate limiting step to the skin absorption.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2009 · International Journal of Pharmaceutics
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    ABSTRACT: This work aimed to evaluate the effect induced by excipients conventionally used for topical dosage forms, namely isopropyl myristate (IPM) or oleic acid (OA) or polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG400) or Transcutol (TR), on the human skin permeability of terpinen-4-ol (T4OL) contained in the pure Tea tree oil. The effect of such excipients was determined by evaluating the absorption of T4OL using human epidermis and the perturbation of the organization of stratum corneum by ATR-FTIR. Among the tested excipients OA enhanced the absorption of T4OL by perturbing the stratum corneum lipid barrier. Other excipients caused a weak enhancement effect and their use should be carefully monitored.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2009 · Pharmaceutical Development and Technology
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    ABSTRACT: This work aimed to evaluate the flexibility of a novel pyrolytic carbon coated drug-eluting stent platform, which presents the peculiarity of deep sculptures realized on the stent's outer surface (reservoirs). Tacrolimus (TCR) or TCR/excipient mixtures were loaded into the reservoirs, and their permanence into stent's reservoirs was verified by an in vitro short-time release test in human blood. Moreover, the impact of the excipients on the TCR physical state and surface morphology of the reservoirs and the release kinetics were studied. The reservoirs resulted homogeneously filled. Upon exposure to blood, no loss of materials from reservoirs was observed, and the drug release after 15 min was negligible in all cases. The loading procedure caused the drug amorphization and, AFM revealed that the surfaces were smooth and homogeneous with the exception of the TCR/poloxamer 188 mixture where spatial oriented crystals were evident. Poly(N-vinyl pyrrolidone) improved the in vitro TCR release rate constants (K). Poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMM) significantly reduced the K value both in vitro and in vivo. Indeed, the in vivo drug concentrations in rabbit artery wall significantly decreased, decreasing the TCR/PMM ratio. The characteristics of the stent strut resulted suitable to load material with different physicochemical characteristics.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2009 · European journal of pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics: official journal of Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Pharmazeutische Verfahrenstechnik e.V
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    ABSTRACT: The antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil (TTO), the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia are well documented. In order to optimize its therapeutic activity, TTO patches were designed. The aim of this work was the formulation of monolayer patches containing TTO. Moreover, the performance of oleic acid (OA) as a skin penetration enhancer in patches was evaluated. Terpinen-4-ol (T4OL), the main component of TTO, was the marker used to evaluate TTO skin permeability. The permeation study was performed through human epidermis by using Franz diffusion cells. Patches were prepared by using methacrylic copolymers, Eudragit E100 (EuE100) or Eudragit NE (EuNE), and a silicone resin, BioPSA7-4602 (Bio-PSA). TTO and OA contents were fixed at 10% w/w and 3% w/w, respectively. The patches were prepared by a casting method and characterised in terms of T4OL content and skin permeability. All the selected polymers were suitable as the main component of the patch matrix. Since the main critical issue in the use of TTO is related to its toxicity after absorption, the local administration of TTO can take advantage of the use of patches based on EuE100 because of the high retained amount and the low permeation of T4OL. In this matrix, OA slightly increased the T4OL retained amount, improving the efficacy and safety of TTO patches.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2009 · Natural product communications
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    ABSTRACT: The main issue in the development of transdermal patches made of poly(ethyl acrylate, methyl methacrylate) (Eudragit NE 40D, PMM) is the shrinkage phenomenon during the spreading of the latex onto the release liner. To solve this problem, the latex is usually freeze-dried and then re-dissolved in an organic solvent (method 1). To simplify the production process, we prepared an adhesive matrix by adding to the commercial PMM latex a plasticizer and an additive (anti-shrinkage agent) that avoids the shrinkage of the water dispersion spread onto the release liner (method 2). In some cases the active ingredient itself, such as potassium diclofenac (DK) and nicotine (NT), works as anti-shrinkage agent. In this work, the effects of the preparation method, types and concentrations of the plasticizer (triacetin and tributyl citrate) on the adhesive properties of the transdermal patches were investigated. The adhesive properties of the prepared patch were determined by texture analysis, peel adhesion test and shear adhesion. The PMM/plasticizer interactions were evaluated by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy. Furthermore, the in vitro skin permeation profiles of DK and NT released from the patch were determined by Franz cell method. Generally speaking, the variables that mainly modify the adhesive properties are the concentration and type of the plasticizer. The skin permeation profiles of DK and NT from the patch prepared by method 2 overlapped with those obtained with the commercial products. The results underline that the PMM latex can be used conveniently in the development of transdermal patches.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2008 · AAPS PharmSciTech
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    ABSTRACT: In this study the skin permeation and the topical anti-inflammatory properties of ginger extracts were investigated. A commercial ginger dry extract (DE) and a gingerols-enriched dry extract (EDE) were evaluated for their in vivo topical anti-inflammatory activity by inhibition of Croton oil-induced ear oedema in mice. Furthermore, the feasibility of an anti-inflammatory plaster containing DE or EDE was evaluated. Since the in vivo activity was evaluated in mice, the ex vivo skin permeation study was performed by using mouse skin or human epidermis. The DE from the acetonic solution exerted a dose-dependent topical anti-inflammatory activity (ID (50) = 142 microg/cm (2)), not far from that of the potent reference substance indomethacin (ID (50) = 93 microg/cm (2)). Similarly, the EDE induced a dose-dependent oedema reduction though its potency (ID (50) = 181 microg/cm (2)) was slightly lower than that of DE. Increase of the 6-gingerol concentration in the extract did not improve the anti-inflammatory activity. The medicated plasters, containing 1 mg/cm (2) of the commercial DE or EDE, had good technological characteristics and exerted a significant antiphlogistic effect, too. By using the plaster containing EDE, the 6-gingerol amount that permeated through human epidermis was 6.9 microg/cm (2) while the amount that passed through mouse skin was 22.1 microg/cm (2). Nevertheless, the amounts of 6-gingerol permeated through human epidermis and mouse skin in the early period (8h) were comparable (p > 0.3). This preliminary result suggests that the anti-inflammatory effect observed in mice could also be exerted in humans.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2007 · Planta Medica
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    ABSTRACT: The topical treatment with dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and/or alpha-tocopherol (alpha-T) is widely used in order to prevent the local complications of extravasation of cytostatic drugs and protect patients against skin ulceration. Till now, DMSO and alpha-T have been mainly used in solution. The goal of this study was to formulate semisolid preparations for cutaneous application differing in the hydrophilic and lipophilic properties and containing DMSO and alpha-T in combination. With respect to solutions, the use of semisolid preparations containing DMSO and alpha-T could be advantageous in patients having extravasation as DMSO and alpha-T can remain in contact with the skin over an extended period of time. As a consequence, the action of the active principles can be limited specifically on the injured skin area, reducing the cutaneous irritative effects of DMSO. The following types of semisolid formulations containing 50% m/m DMSO and 2.5% m/m alpha-T were prepared: hydrophilic ointment, o/w emulsion, hydrophilic gel and lipophilic gel. The ex vivo skin permeation of DMSO and alpha-T was evaluated by using modified Franz's diffusion cells and human stratum corneum and epidermis (SCE) as a membrane. The permeated and retained amounts of DMSO and alpha-T were determined. The oleogel preparation, the hydrophilic gel and the o/w emulsion were uniform in colour and aspect, without any evidences of phase separation over the period of the study. Hydrophilic ointments were discarded as they showed phase separation after 12 h. All formulations had a different behaviour in terms of skin permeability. In particular, hydrogel and o/w emulsion showed the best control on the drug release considering the interactions of the vehicle components with the SCE and the drugs partition between the vehicle and the SCE. The DMSO permeated amount after 24 h was 4.1 mg/cm(2) for hydrogel and 2.5 mg/cm(2) for emulsion while the permeated amount of pure DMSO after 24 h was 47.5 mg/cm(2). Therefore, aiming to reduce side effects after the topical application of the antidotes DMSO and alpha-T, these results suggested that hydrogel and o/w emulsion could be considered the most promising formulations for further clinical evaluations in managing of extravasation of anthracyclines.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2007 · Archives for Dermatological Research
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    ABSTRACT: The ex vivo permeation of diclofenac was studied using four different salts (sodium, potassium, diethylamine, and epolamine) dissolved in four different solvents (water, propylene glycol (PG), Transcutol, and oleic acid (OA)) as donor phases through a human skin membrane. The four salts show different solubility values and different behavior in the four solvents, which are also permeation enhancers and this fact further is connected to the permeation results. The same order of magnitude of fluxes through the membrane as those previously reported for acidic diclofenac released from buffer solutions of pH >7 were found, taking into account differences originated by different membranes and other parameters tested in the experiments. Saturation concentration for the four salts in different solvents, necessary to calculate permeation coefficients, was critically evaluated; a short discussion made it possible to explain that corrections in the solubility values must be considered, related to the complex behavior in solution of these salts. Statistical processing of the experimental data suggests that differences between the four salts in promoting absorption of the drug is unproven; while differences are evident between the solvents, water is the most effective enhancing vehicle. Aqueous formulations containing diclofenac salt with an organic base appear to be the best combination to promote permeation in topical applications.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2007 · Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: The present feasibility study was designed to obtain a monolayer patch containing oxybutynin (OXY) avoiding chemical permeation enhancers. The highest flux was obtained with a polydimethylsiloxane matrix patch. Because OXY crystals were detected in the matrix within a week, two amino methylmethacrylate copolymers (Eudragit E or Eudragit RS) were used as OXY crystallization inhibitors. A preliminary in vivo study indicated that flux from the stabilized patches had to be increased about 30-40%. This goal was reached by occlusion with a polyethylene layer.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2007 · Pharmaceutical Development and Technology
  • Paola Minghetti · Francesco Cilurzo · Antonella Casiraghi · Luisa Montanari
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    ABSTRACT: The percutaneous absorption of genistein (GEN) and daidzein (DAI), whose oestrogenic-like activity is well known, is scantily investigated. In this work the ability of GEN and DAI to reach therapeutic steady-state plasma concentrations following transdermal administration was studied. The skin permeation studies were conducted by using modified Franz diffusion cell and human epidermis as a membrane. PEG400 was the most effective vehicle for both molecules. On the basis of the ex vivo permeation results and estimating therapeutic plasma concentration, we assume that pure GEN can be efficaciously administered by the transdermal route.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2006 · Drug Delivery
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    ABSTRACT: The feasibility of a monolayer patch based on polydimethylsiloxane pressure sensitive adhesive containing ibuprofen (IB) in supersaturated condition was studied. The efficacy of three low molecular weight excipients (propylene glycol, PG, Cremophor EL and Cremophor RH) and of two copolymers of methacrylic acid (Eudragit((R)) E, EuE, and Eudragit((R)) RL, EuRL) as IB crystallization inhibitors was tested. The performances of the patches were evaluated in terms of drug release and human stratum corneum and epidermis (SCE) permeation profile. The interactions between IB and the other excipients were investigated by ATR-FT-IR spectroscopy. The stability of the patches, prepared without adding crystallization inhibitors, was unsatisfactory because crystals grew in less than 1 month. Among the low molecular weight molecules, only PG inhibited the IB crystallization up to 50 days without affecting the IB skin permeation profile. The addition of EuE or EuRL in the matrices prevented drug crystallization for more than 12 months. EuE significantly reduced the IB in vitro release rate and the IB permeated amount through the SCE compared to other formulations. These phenomena are attributed to a stronger association between IB and EuE than IB and EuRL.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2005 · European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics

Publication Stats

506 Citations
81.39 Total Impact Points


  • 1999-2015
    • University of Milan
      • Istituto di Chimica Farmaceutica e Tossicologica
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2002
    • Ospedale Luigi Sacco
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy