Intranasal delivery- opportunities for systemic and brain targeting


Vibhu Nagpal; R. N. Saha*

Drug Delivery & Pharmacokinetics Lab, Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani 333031, India

*Corresponding author:

Dr. Ranendra Narayan Saha, Deputy Director (Research & Education Development),

Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Vidhya Vihar, Pilani- 333031, India.

E-mail:, Tel: ++91 9414082463.



Advances in pharmaceutical technology have led to development of specialized drug delivery systems that allow drugs to be delivered through the various alternative routes. Mucosal membranes, particularly the nasal mucosa, offer the potential for a rapid absorption of some drugs with a plasma profile closely replicating that from an intravenous bolus injection. The relatively large surface area, the porous epithelial membrane, and the extensive vascularization are factors favoring absorption of nasally administered drugs. This is especially useful in emergency situation with several advantages. Intranasal drug delivery can also be exploited as a better route of entry into the systemic circulation, as well as for direct brain targeting and is appropriate to its clinical application. Targeting the central nervous system (CNS) by intranasal delivery is a promising alternative for oral or parenteral administration, and is investigated to directly target the brain, thereby increasing CNS target and availability and the efficacy of CNS active drugs. Direct delivery of therapeutics from the nasal cavity via the olfactory region into the CNS, bypasses the BBB and provides a better alternative to invasive methods of drug administration. Another application of this nasal delivery can be targeting brain cancer through olfactory pathway by bypassing BBB, particularly drugs having poor permeability to brian. In addition to bypassing the BBB, the advantages of intranasal delivery include rapid delivery to the CNS, avoidance of hepatic first pass drug metabolism, and elimination of the need for systemic delivery, thereby reducing unwanted systemic side effects. Intranasal delivery also provides painless and convenient self-administration. Although the market share for nasal delivery may never take the number one spot enjoyed by oral controlled release, it remains a drug delivery route with an enormous potential for growth.


Keywords: Intranasal delivery, Brain targeting, Nasal transmucosal delivery, Noninvasive.

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