The vagina as a route for drug delivery: A review - Abstract

Overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome has a significant deleterious impact on quality of life.

After conservative therapy and bladder retaining, antimuscarinic drugs remain the mainstay of OAB management. Oral therapy is associated with frequent side effects, leading to the development of alternative agents and formulations or the use of novel routes of drug administration, such as the vaginal route. The vagina is often ideal for drug delivery because it allows the use of lower doses, maintains steady drug administration levels, and requires less frequent administration than the oral route. With vaginal drug administration, absorption is unaffected by gastrointestinal disturbances, there is no first-pass effect, and use is discreet. The aim of this review is to provide a background overview of vaginal development, anatomy, and physiology and the effect this has on the use of this route for both local and systemic drug delivery, with special reference to OAB management. Vaginal therapy continues to be an underused route of drug delivery. Vaginal administration allows nondaily, low, continuous dosing, which results in stable drug levels and may, in turn, achieve a lower incidence of side effects and improve patient compliance. These benefits must be balanced against inherent patient or physician bias against using this route and the need to overcome cultural, personal, and hygiene-related barriers to this form of therapy. More sophisticated and programmable vaginal rings are being developed for systemic delivery of therapeutically important macromolecules, such as antimuscarinic therapy in OAB management.

Written by:
Srikrishna S, Cardozo L.   Are you the author?
Department of Urogynaecology, King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, SE5 9RS, UK.

Reference: Int Urogynecol J. 2012 Dec 11. Epub ahead of print.
doi: 10.1007/s00192-012-2009-3

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 23229421 Overactive Bladder (OAB) Section