Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Audra L. Stinchcomb


Microneedles are a minimally invasive method for delivering drugs through the impermeable skin layers, and have been used to deliver a variety of compounds including macromolecules, vaccines, and naltrexone. Microneedles can be applied to the skin once, creating micropores that allow for drug delivery into the underlying circulation from a drug formulation. The utility of this technique, however, is blunted by rapid micropore closure. This research project sought to: 1) characterize micropore lifetime and re-sealing kinetics, and 2) prolong micropore lifetime via inhibition of the skin’s barrier restoration processes. Impedance spectroscopy was used as a surrogate technique in animals and humans to measure micropore formation and lifetime. A proof of concept study in humans, using impedance spectroscopy, demonstrated that diclofenac (a topical anti-inflammatory) applied to microporated skin resulted in slower re-sealing kinetics compared to placebo, in agreement with previous animal studies. The clinical feasibility of prolonging micropore lifetime with diclofenac was confirmed via 7-day delivery of naltrexone through microneedle treated skin in humans (compared to 72 hour delivery with placebo). Lastly, naltrexone gels with calcium salts were applied to microneedle treated skin (hairless guinea pigs) to restore the altered epidermal calcium gradient; this method did not significantly extend micropore lifetime.