Strategies for Improving Mucosal Drug Delivery

Flavia Laffleur; Andreas Bernkop-Schnürch

Disclosures

Nanomedicine. 2013;8(12):2061-2075. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Within this review we will provide a comprehensive understanding in order to improve existing strategies and to develop new systems to lower the barrier for improving mucosal drug delivery. Mucosal administration of drugs achieves a therapeutical effect as the permeation of significant amounts of a drug is permitted through the absorption membrane. The absorption membrane relies on the mucosal layer and the epithelial tissue. In order to overcome barriers, drug delivery systems have to exhibit various functions and features, such as mucoadhesive and protective activity, solubility improving, permeation and uptake enhancing, and drug release controlling properties. This review also aims to provide an insight of well-distinguished strategies to date, as well as provide a focus on the enhancement of membrane permeability. Furthermore, since the development and functions of drug delivery systems exert a high influence on the ability of drug permeation through membrane, these considerations will also be discussed in this review.

Introduction

Nanotechnology has become a 'buzzword' in pharmaceutical sciences, and investigations are currently being undertaken to extend its applications in various models of pharmaceutical research. Over the last two decades, nanotechnology has tremendously gained an influence in drug delivery research and a great number of nanoscale technologies/carriers have been, and still are being, investigated to date in order to enhance therapeutic efficacy of drugs.[1–4] An improvement of nanoscale technologies in therapeutic efficacy might be caused by a number of factors, such as the improved solubility of hydrophobic drugs, the enhanced permeability or transport of poorly permeable drugs, the modulation of biodistribution and drug disposition of drugs, the prevention of drug degradation in physiological milieu, and the ability to target delivery of drugs to the site of action. Classification of nanoscale technologies can generally be divided into lipid-based nanocarriers, polymeric nanocarriers, inorganic nanocarriers and drug nanoparticles or nanosuspensions.[5,6] Lipid nanocarriers contain lipid core micelles, liposomes, microemulsions, nanoemulsions, solid lipid nanoparticles and nanostructured lipid carriers, whereas polymeric nanocarriers contain polymeric micelles, polymeric nanoparticles and nanocapsules, dendrimers and polymer–drug nanoconjugates.[3,7] Inorganic nanocarriers comprise nanostructures covering various inorganic metals, for instance gold particles, iron oxide (magnetic) nanoparticles, calcium phosphate nanoparticles and quantum dots, whereas drugs in nanoparticulate form might be used as nanosuspensions.[8] Inorganic nanocarriers comprise nanostructures covering various inorganic metals, for instance gold particles, iron oxide (magnetic) nanoparticles, calcium phosphate nanoparticles and quantum dots, whereas drugs in nanoparticulate form might be used as nanosuspensions.[8] Furthermore, nanocarriers are intensively investigated for strategies to deliver drugs across the epithelia. By demonstrating great potential in improving drug delivery by various routes of administration to mucosal surfaces, nanoscale delivery systems seem to be promising tools for further investigations.[9] Mucosal delivery systems establish promising features as they are patient compliant, nonpainful and have an accepted administration route. This review will provide an overview of conventional and novel strategies to improve our understanding for designing mucosal drug delivery systems, as well as recent developments in drug delivery for mucosal surfaces.

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