Azelaic acid loaded chitosan and HPMC based hydrogels for treatment of acne: formulation, characterization, in vitro-ex vivo evaluation

ARPA M. D., Seçen İ. M., ERİM Ü. C., HOŞ A., Üstündağ Okur N.

Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, vol.27, no.3, pp.268-281, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/10837450.2022.2038620
  • Journal Name: Pharmaceutical Development and Technology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.268-281
  • Keywords: Acne vulgaris, azelaic acid, hydrogels, chitosan, HPMC, Cutibacterium acnes, Propionibacterium acnes
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


In this study, hydrogels containing azelaic acid were developed using chitosan or HPMC (1–7%) for local treatment of acne vulgaris. Physicochemical properties such as viscosity, pH and mechanical properties were evaluated. In vitro release and ex vivo permeability studies were performed using the Franz diffusion cell system. The pH of the hydrogels was highly compatible with the skin pH and varied between 4.38 and 5.84. The cumulative release percentages of the hydrogels at the end of 6 hours were 65–78%, whereas the marketed product yielded 50% drug release. According to the ex vivo permeability results, azelaic acid accumulated in the skin was found to be 9.38 ± 0.65% (marketed cream), 19.53 ± 1.06% (K3), 10.96 ± 1.91% (H6). The antiacne studies with Cutibacterium acnes revealed that K3 (29.45 ± 0.95) and H6 (32.35 ± 0.15) had higher inhibition zones compared to the marketed cream (24.50 ± 0.90). Additionally, the gels were found to be highly stable as a result of the stability studies for 6 months. Among the hydrogels that were prepared based on experimental findings, K3 (3% Chitosan) and H6 (6% HPMC) represented elevated in vitro release profile, higher permeability and increased antiacne activity. The findings of this research suggest that the developed hydrogels might be an alternative to the marketed product.