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New strategies for local treatment of vaginal infections.

Vaginal infections are extremely prevalent, particularly among women of reproductive age. Although they do not result in high mortality rates, these infections are associated with high levels of anxiety and reduction of quality of life. In most cases, topical treatment of vaginal infections has been shown to be at least as effective as oral treatment, resulting in higher local drug concentrations, with fewer drug interactions and adverse effects. Furthermore, the emergence of microbial resistance to chemotherapeutics and the difficulties in managing infection recurrences sustain the need for more effective local treatments. However, conventional dosage forms have been associated with low retention in the vagina and discomfort. Formulation strategies such as the development of bioadhesive, thermogelling systems and microtechnological or nanotechnological approaches have been proposed to improve delivery of traditional drugs, and other treatment modalities such as new drugs, plant extracts, and probiotics are being studied. This article reviews the recent strategies studied to improve the treatment and prevention of the commonest vaginal infections-namely, vaginal bacteriosis, aerobic vaginitis, vulvovaginal candidosis, and trichomoniasis-through the intravaginal route.

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