Kinetics of transdermal penetration of an organic ion pair: Physostigmine salicylate

Asher Pardo, Yoseph Shiri, Sasson Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Physostigmine salicylate was delivered from a series of solvents consisting of isopropyl myristate, isopropyl alcohol (IPA), and their mixtures across dermatomed human skin. The apparent steady‐state fluxes over the time range of the test, obtained separately for physostigmine and its corresponding salicylate, indicate a consistent trend toward higher values for the salicylate in the series tested. The ratios of salicylate fluxes to physostigmine fluxes ranged from 1.1 to 3.34, the higher ratios being obtained at a volume fraction of IPA exceeding 0.7. lonization of the ion pair at the pH of the hydrated stratum corneum immediately after its partitioning into the membrane, followed by differential diffusion of the species across the membrane, is consistent with the kinetics of penetration. It is proposed that the apparent volume of distribution of physostigmine is larger than that of salicylate and, hence, a smaller concentration difference across the diffusion barrier exists for physostigmine. This hypothesis can explain the lower flux of physostigmine to conform to Fick's first law of diffusion and the assumption of equal molar transfer to the skin of both species. The hypothesis implies that if steady state appears to have been reached for the faster migrating salicylate over the time range tested then the apparent steady state of physostigmine is not a true one. Increasing the salicylate content in one of the donor solutions by eight times over that of physostigmine decreased the saturation concentration of physostigmine but not in its flux. Increasing the physostigmine content by 6.5 times over that of salicylate in the same donor solution did not change either the flux or the salicylate concentration but decreased the permeability coefficient of physostigmine. This result suggests that fixed, structural, negatively charged groups in the membrane compete with the salicylate anion for binding the protonated physostigmine through coulombic attractive forces, thus affecting its diffusion rate. A more hydrated membrane, obtained at high hydrophilic IPA content in the solvent, is expected to favor the formation of physostigmine dication and thus slow its diffusion rate with respect to a less hydrated membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)990-995
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1992


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