Sonophoresis is a drug delivery method where ultrasound is used to increase the absorption of topical compounds into the epidermis, dermis and skin appendages. The medication usually consists of hydrophilic molecules and macromolecules. Sonophoresis occurs because ultrasound waves stimulate micro-vibrations within the skin epidermis and increase the overall kinetic energy of molecules making up topical agents. This technology has been found to be most effective at low frequencies (less than 100 kHz). It is widely used in hospitals to deliver drugs through the skin. Pharmacists compound the drugs by mixing them with a coupling agent (gel, cream, ointment) that transfers ultrasonic energy from the ultrasound transducer to the skin. The ultrasound probably enhances drug transport by cavitation, microstreaming, and heating. Sonophoresis is also used as a complementary modality for iontophoresis.
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