Siegesbeckiae Herba (SiH) is a traditional anti-rheumatic herbal medicine in China. A SiH derived product, Phynova Joint and Muscle Relief Tablets™, has been granted the UK license in 2015. Although transdermal delivery provides better patient compliance and relative constant plasma drug concentration, the feasibility of transdermal delivery of SiH was not clear.
The aim of the present study was to develop a novel transdermal patch containing SiH extract for alternative therapy of rheumatoid arthritis.
SiH extract containing 48.5% (w/w) of kirenol was prepared from Siegesbeckia pubescens Makino. Then transdermal patches containing SiH extract were prepared by the solvent evaporation technique. The formulation of the transdermal patch was optimized based on the in vitro skin permeation experiment. Finally, the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of the optimal patch were evaluated by chronic inflammation model induced by complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) and writhing model induced by acetic acid, separately.
Oleic acid (OA) showed the maximum permeation enhancement effect with the enhancement ratio (ER) values of 3.32. Therefore, OA was used as a permeation enhancer in the transdermal patch. The optimal formulation consisted of SiH extract (10% of the matrix, w/w), OA (10% of the matrix, w/w), DURO-TAK® 87-2287 (pressure sensitive adhesive matrix) and Scotchpak™ 9701 (backing layer). The optimal transdermal patch containing SiH extract significantly reduced the degree of paw swelling and number of writhing in inflammation model and writhing model, respectively.
The developed transdermal patch containing Siegesbeckiae Herba extract showed good anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, which demonstrated a great potential for alternative therapy of rheumatoid arthritis.

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