Clinical Pharmacokinetics

, Volume 42, Issue 13, pp 1107–1128 | Cite as

Absorption Enhancers for Nasal Drug Delivery

  • Stanley S. DavisEmail author
  • Lisbeth Illum
Review Article


This paper describes the basic concepts for the transmucosal delivery of drugs, and in particular the use of the nasal route for delivery of challenging drugs such as polar low-molecular-weight drugs and peptides and proteins. Strategies for the exploitation of absorption enhancers for the improvement of nasal delivery are discussed, including consideration of mechanisms of action and the correlation between toxic effect and absorption enhancement. Selected enhancer systems, such as cyclodextrins, phospholipids, bioadhesive powder systems and chitosan, are discussed in detail. Examples of the use of these enhancers in preclinical and clinical studies are given. Methods for assessing irritancy and damage to the nasal membrane from the use of absorption enhancers are also described. Finally, the mucosal use of absorption enhancers (chitosan) for the improved nasal delivery of vaccines is reported with reference to recent phase I/II clinical studies.


Chitosan Bile Salt Mucociliary Clearance Nasal Administration Absorption Enhancer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors have provided no information on sources of funding or on conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this review.


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© Adis Data Information BV 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of NottinghamUniversity Park, NottinghamUK

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