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Transdermal administration offers a non-invasive and convenient method for paediatric drug delivery. The competent skin barrier function in term infants and older children limits both water loss and the percutaneous entry of chemicals including drugs; but the smaller doses required by children eases the attainment of therapeutic concentrations. Transdermal patches used in paediatrics include fentanyl, buprenorphine, clonidine, scopolamine, methylphenidate, oestrogens, nicotine and tulobuterol. Some patches have paediatric labelling supported by clinical trials whereas others are used unlicensed. Innovative drug delivery methods, such as microneedles and sonophoresis are being tested for their safety and efficacy; needleless injectors are primarily used to administer growth hormone; and two iontophoretic devices were approved for paediatrics. In contrast, the immature and rapidly evolving skin barrier function in premature neonates represents a significant formulation challenge. Unfortunately, this population group suffers from an absence of approved transdermal formulations, a shortcoming exacerbated by the significant risk of excessive drug exposure via the incompletely formed skin barrier.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-82
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Early online date11 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2014


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