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Sonophoresis is a drug delivery method where ultrasound is used to increase the absorption of topical compounds into the epidermis, dermis and skin appendages.[1][2] The medication usually consists of hydrophilic molecules and macromolecules.[3] 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).[4] It is widely used in hospitals to deliver drugs through the skin.[citation needed] 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,[5] microstreaming, and heating. Sonophoresis is also used as a complementary modality for iontophoresis.


  1. ^ Ogura, Makoto; Paliwal, Sumit; Mitragotri, Samir (June 2008). "Low-frequency sonophoresis: Current status and future prospects". Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. 60 (10): 1218–1223. doi:10.1016/j.addr.2008.03.006. PMID 18450318.
  2. ^ Mitragotri, Samir; Kost, Joseph (1 January 2000). "Low-Frequency Sonophoresis: A Noninvasive Method of Drug Delivery and Diagnostics". Biotechnology Progress. 16 (3): 488–492. doi:10.1021/bp000024+. ISSN 1520-6033. PMID 10835253.
  3. ^ Polat BE, Blankschtein D, Langer R (2010). "Low-Frequency Sonophoresis: Application to the Transdermal Delivery of Macromolecules and Hydrophilic Drugs" (PDF). Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 7 (12): 1415–32. doi:10.1517/17425247.2010.538679. PMC 3050019. PMID 21118031.
  4. ^ Mitragotri S, Kost J (2004). "Low-frequency sonophoresis: a review". Adv. Drug Deliv. Rev. 56 (5): 589–601. doi:10.1016/j.addr.2003.10.024. PMID 15019748.
  5. ^ Tezel, Ahmet; Mitragotri, Samir (1 December 2003). "Interactions of Inertial Cavitation Bubbles with Stratum Corneum Lipid Bilayers during Low-Frequency Sonophoresis". Biophysical Journal. 85 (6): 3502–3512. doi:10.1016/S0006-3495(03)74770-5. ISSN 0006-3495. PMC 1303657. PMID 14645045.


  • Ansel's Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms and Drug Delivery System (Page 300) (ISBN 0-7817-4612-4)