Limonene increases caffeine's skin absorption by 400% and salicylate's absorption by 200%

  • Abstract: Differential effects of some natural compounds on the transdermal absorption and penetration of caffeine and salicylic acid.
  • Abstract: Many natural products have the potential to modulate the dermal penetration of topically applied drugs and chemicals. We studied the effect of five natural compounds (hydroxycitronellal, limonene 1,2-epoxide, terpinyl acetate, p-coumaric acid, transferrulic acid) and ethanol on the transdermal penetration of two marker drugs ((14)C-caffeine and (14)C-salicylic acid) in a flow through in vitro porcine skin diffusion system. The parameters of flux, permeability, diffusivity, and percent dose absorbed/retained were calculated and compared. The dermal absorption of (14)C-caffeine was significantly higher with terpinyl acetate and limonene 1,2-epoxide as compared to ethanol; while dermal absorption of (14)C-salicylic acid was significantly greater with hydroxycitronellal and limonene 1,2-epoxide as compared to ethanol. A 10-fold increase in flux and permeability of caffeine with terpinyl acetate was observed while limonene increased flux of caffeine by 4-fold and permeability by 3-fold. Hydroxycitronellal and limonene increased salicylic acid's flux and permeability over 2-fold. The other natural compounds tested did not produce statistically significant effects on dermal penetration parameters for both caffeine and salicylic acid (p≥0.05). These results emphasize the differential effects of natural substances on the transdermal penetration of hydrophilic (caffeine) and hydrophobic (salicylic acid) drugs.

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