Development and rheological evaluation of DEET (N,N-diethyL-3-methylbenzamide) microparticles loaded hydrogel for topical application

Rajesh Sreedharan Nair, Habibur Rahman, Min Xian Kong, Xin Yi Tan, Kah Yin Chen, Suresh Shanmugham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) is a broad-spectrum insect repellent that can easily permeate through the skin and can cause undesirable effects, especially in children and pregnant women. The objective of this research was to formulate and evaluate DEET-encapsulated microparticles containing a hydrogel designed to reduce skin permeation and prolong drug release. Materials and Methods: The formulation design was based on the independent formulation variables of the concentration of chitosan and sodium tripolyphosphate using a simple factorial design experiment. DEET-loaded microparticles were developed and incorporated into a hydrogel. The size of the microparticles was analyzed using the Zetasizer Nano® particle size analyzer, and the surface morphology, using field emission scanning electron microscopy. Drug release from the microparticles was determined by the dialysis bag method. A rheological evaluation of the formulated gel was performed using a Thermo Haake Rheometer. The in vitro permeation of the formulation was performed using a synthetic Strat-M® membrane. Results: The size of the microparticles ranged from 0.45 to 8.3 µm, and the encapsulation efficiencies were >50% for all the formulations. The drug-release curves showed no initial burst release from the microparticle formulation. Instead, a slow and controlled drug release was observed over 24 hours that followed Higuchi kinetics. The cumulative amount of DEET permeated (over 24 h) from the DEET solution (control), and the formulation was 211.6±19.5 µg/cm2 and 4.07±0.08 µg/cm2, respectively. Conclusion: A significantly low DEET permeation from the microparticle formulations indicated minimal absorption of the drug into the body and thus, reduced systemic toxicity. Thixotropic evaluation of the hydrogel formulation demonstrated a hysteresis loop that fitted closely to the Herschel-Bulkley rheological model, ensuring an effortless application and prolonged retention on the skin. Hence, it can be concluded that the developed formulation is an effective delivery approach for controlled insect repellent activity with reduced skin absorption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-359
Number of pages8
JournalTurkish Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • DEET
  • Hydrogel
  • Microparticles
  • Permeation
  • Transdermal

Cite this