Local anesthesia of the oral cavity is a critical step for most dental procedures. The administration of anesthetics is usually done invasively, through injections that often scare away patients of the clinics. The effective non-invasive administration of local anesthetics in the oral cavity in order to replace the painful injections would enable the improvement of routine and surgical procedures because of the likely cost savings, patient compliance, ease of application and less risk of contamination and toxicity. However, the deep anesthesia of strategic areas of the oral mucosa during appropriate time requires penetration of the anesthetic in effective amounts. This high localized penetration is not achieved easily with the simple application of conventional semi-solid formulations. The rate of release and permeation of the drug may, however, be increased and modulated by using suitable pharmaceutical adjuvants and the application of iontophoresis. Thus, this project aims to develop mucoadhesive semi-solid systems for topical / local anesthetics release in the oral cavity, enabling the application of iontophoresis to direct and control their release. For this purpose, the formulations developed will be characterized physically and physico-chemically and in vitro and ex vivo tests will be undertaken to assess whether they are capable of being administrated in the oral cavity. Concentration, pH and ionic strength of the systems will be evaluated in order to increase the efficiency of electric current when applied to iontophoresis and thereby enabling the development of a suitable iontophoretic delivery system. Statistical tools will be used for the selection of optimized formulations with improved characteristics.
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