Abstract The present study aimed to evaluate different dosage forms, emulsions, emulgels, lipogels, and thickened microemulsion-based hydrogel, as fluconazole topical delivery systems with the purpose of determining a formulation with the capacity to deliver the whole active compound and maintain it within the skin so as to be considered a useful formulation either for topical mycosis treatment or as adjuvant in a combined therapy for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis. Propylene glycol and diethyleneglycol monoethyl ether were used for each dosage form as solvent for the drug and also as penetration enhancers. In vitro drug release after application of a clinically relevant dose of each formulation was evaluated and then microemulsions and lipogels were selected for the in vitro penetration and permeation study. Membranes of mixed cellulose esters and full-thickness pig ear skin were used for the in vitro studies. Candida albicans was used to test antifungal activity. A microemulsion containing diethyleneglycol monoethyl ether was found to be the optimum formulation as it was able to deliver the whole contained dose and enhance its skin penetration. Also this microemulsion showed the best performance in the antifungal activity test compared with the one containing propylene glycol. These results are according to previous reports of the advantages of microemulsions for topical administration and they are very promising for further clinical evaluation.
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