Topical Lotions and Gels

Topical and Transdermal Drug Delivery

Topical drug delivery and transdermal drug delivery offer an alternative, more convenient treatment option for a variety of disorders. While both methods involve direct application to a biological surface, such as the skin or a mucosal membrane, only transdermal formulations are designed for deeper penetration to achieve systemic administration whereas topical drug formulations treat the site of application. Both markets are playing an increasingly large role in pharmaceutical product development, as patients are progressively leaning towards more convenient formats that offer faster, longer-lasting results with less side effects, a trend Lubrizol Life Science is well-equipped to handle.


  • Topical drug delivery can include dermal, nasal, rectal, and vaginal routes of administration. Liquid solutions and suspensions as well as semisolids such as creams, lotions, ointments, and gels are common topical drug delivery formats for a variety of indications. With the increasing prevalence of various dermatological disorders and infections, coupled with a growing need for pain management options for arthritis and injuries, topical formulations play a critical role in the pharmaceutical industry.


  • Transdermal delivery, whether in semisolid, liquid, or patch dosage form, is increasingly viewed as a preferred alternative to other routes of drug administration. It circumvents the metabolic processes that break down orally administered drugs and avoids the discomfort and inconvenience associated with injectables. Novel technologies and formulations for skin penetration are driving growth in this market, with patches being a dominant technology.
LLS Health has extensive experience providing bioadhesive excipients, polymers for drug patches, and contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) services to support topical and transdermal drug products. Whether developing an over-the-counter product or prescription drug formulation, Lubrizol is a comprehensive partner in the transdermal and topical drug delivery space.
Our Carbopol® polymers, Pemulen polymers and Noveon® polycarbophils, as well as our other IID-listed polymers, have been used extensively in the development of many safe and effective semisolid and gel topical and transdermal products. Carbopol polyacrylic acid polymers can also be used as excipients and thickening agents in reservoir transdermal patches. These excipients provide proving critical qualities to address market needs, including:
  • Ideal Aesthetic and Sensory Qualities – increase patient compliance through low-irritation, non-greasy formulations or breathable transdermal patches
  • Bioadhesion / Mucoadhesion – optimize drug delivery, whether local or systemic, by prolonging contact with the site of application, allowing for controlled release and enhanced bioavailability of the drug
  • Efficient Rheology Modification and thickening for semisolids and gels