Drug delivery to the central nervous system

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By K K Jain MD

The delivery of drugs to the brain is a challenge in the treatment of CNS disorders. The major obstruction to CNS drug delivery is the blood-brain barrier, which limits the access of drugs to the brain substance. In this clinical article, Dr. K K Jain, a neurology consultant in Basel, Switzerland, describes various strategies to facilitate drug delivery to the brain in neurologic disorders. Most of these involve methods to penetrate the blood-brain barrier or to bypass it. Gene therapy is considered to be a novel form of drug delivery. Special preparation of drugs used for neurologic disorders can provide controlled and improved delivery to the site of action. The latest among these are nanoparticle-based preparations.

Key points

  • Treatment of CNS disorders is limited by difficulties in drug delivery to the site of action.
  • Several methods have been used to deliver drugs directly to the brain.
  • Important strategies include facilitation of passage of systemically administered drugs across the blood-brain barrier.
  • New technologies such as nanobiotechnology are improving drug delivery to the CNS.