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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

In vivo percutaneous absorption of hydrocortisone: multiple-application dosing in man.

Percutaneous absorption of hydrocortisone was measured in six healthy adult men from whom informed consent had been obtained. The study compared a single topical dose to multiple-topical dose treatments (one vs three applications) on the same day. 14C-Labeled hydrocortisone in acetone was applied to 2.5 cm2 of ventral forearm skin and protected with a nonocclusive polypropylene chamber. The amount of 14C measured in urine collected over 7 days was used to determine hydrocortisone absorption. The treatments, performed 2 to 3 weeks apart, each utilized adjacent sites on the same individuals. A single dose of 13.33 micrograms/cm2 delivered 0.056 microgram/cm2 of hydrocortisone through the skin. When the single dose was tripled to 40 micrograms/cm2, the amount delivered through the skin increased by nearly three times, from 0.056 to 0.140 micrograms/cm2; the expected delivery was 3 x 0.056 micrograms/cm2 = 0.168 microgram/cm2. Three serial doses of 13.33 micrograms/cm2 (total, 40 micrograms/cm2) were also expected to deliver 0.168 micrograms/cm2 with or without soap and water washing between doses, but the observed amount of hydrocortisone delivered through the skin significantly exceeded our expectations. This indicates that multiple-dosing treatments resulted in a significant increase in bioavailability. It is postulated that increased vehicle application and washing dissolved and mobilized previously dosed hydrocortisone and increased bioavailability.[1]


  1. In vivo percutaneous absorption of hydrocortisone: multiple-application dosing in man. Melendres, J.L., Bucks, D.A., Camel, E., Wester, R.C., Maibach, H.I. Pharm. Res. (1992) [Pubmed]
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