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Characterisation of freeze-dried wafers and solvent evaporated films as potential drug delivery systems to mucosal surfaces

Boateng, J.S. and Aufrett, A.D. and Matthews, K.H. and Humphry, M.J. and Stevens, H.N.E. and Eccleston, G.M. (2010) Characterisation of freeze-dried wafers and solvent evaporated films as potential drug delivery systems to mucosal surfaces. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 389 (1-2). pp. 24-31. ISSN 0378-5173

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Freeze-dried (lyophilised) wafers and solvent cast films from sodium alginate (ALG) and sodium carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) have been developed as potential drug delivery systems for mucosal surfaces including wounds. The wafers (ALG, CMC) and films (CMC) were prepared by freeze-drying and drying in air (solvent evaporation) respectively, aqueous gels of the polymers containing paracetamol as a model drug. Microscopic architecture was examined using scanning electron microscopy, hydration characteristics with confocal laser scanning microscopy and dynamic vapour sorption. Texture analysis was employed to investigate mechanical characteristics of the wafers during compression. Differential scanning calorimetry was used to investigate polymorphic changes of paracetamol occurring during formulation of the wafers and films. The porous freeze-dried wafers exhibited higher drug loading and water absorption capacity than the corresponding solvent evaporated films. Moisture absorption, ease of hydration and mechanical behaviour were affected by the polymer and drug concentration. Two polymorphs of paracetamol were observed in the wafers and films, due to partial conversion of the original monoclinic to the orthorhombic polymorph during the formulation process. The results showed the potential of employing the freeze-dried wafers and solvent evaporated films in diverse mucosal applications due to their ease of hydration and based on different physical mechanical properties exhibited by both type of formulations.