Drug Delivery and Development

Our researchers in the Pharmaceutical Technology Department are working to develop new drug delivery systems. One of our teams has an increased interest in novel gastro retentive dosage forms that retained in the stomach for an extended and predictable time. A good example for such interest is the article entitled: Intrinsically Floating Gastro-retentive Tablets of Salbutamol Sulphate using Different Sublimable/Release Retarding Materials: A Comparative Study. Such a drug delivery system would control drug release by continuously supplying the drug to its absorption site in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, gastro retentive drug delivery systems GRDDS showed beneficial for the delivery of drugs with narrow absorption windows in the small intestine. Furthermore, they offer pharmacokinetic advantages like maintenance of constant therapeutic levels over a prolonged and predetermined period and hence reduction in drug fluctuations.

Another research article entitled: Alternative approaches in formulating floating hollow tablets via sublimation technique; a platform tailored drug release profile, described the preparation of gastro retentive tablets in two ways i.e., porous and hollow tablets, using the sublimation technique, in an attempt to obtain inherently floating tablets with controlled drug release. The results illustrated that, hollow tablets showed to be a promising gastro retentive drug delivery system, providing excellent floating properties.

In the future, further studies should be conducted by applying this approach on other drugs and polymers and investigate its ability to provide drug delivery systems with different release behaviors that can be implicated for different purposes.

Our researchers along with our colleagues from the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department have an interest in using excipient of natural plant origin as pharmaceutical additives in manufacturing of drug formulations due to their good physico-chemical characteristics that are preferred over semi-synthetic and synthetic materials. This could be attributed to their non-toxic, free availability, emollient and non-irritating nature.

In this regard, a research project entitled: Physico-Chemical characterization and in-vitro release study of directly compressed metformin tablets using different natural mucilages, was submitted to LAAS 21 conference held in Lebanon, 2015.

The main goal of this research is to discuss the properties of natural mucilage, as a potent candidate to be used in various pharmaceutical formulations. It was concluded that the extracted mucilage from the selected plants can be used as pharmaceutical excipient in formulation and manufacturing of drug matrix tablet due to its good physico-chemical characteristics, and suitability for direct compression.

In the future, we are planning to obtain more natural polymers from various plants having different characteristics will be evaluated for their properties and suitability for preparing different drug delivery systems.

Our researchers in Drug Quality Control Laboratory are developing new analytical methodologies or modifying methods to incorporate procedures that use less hazardous chemicals. The main goal is to achieve more eco-friendly analysis in Quality Control laboratories through different strategies and techniques, replace toxic reagents, and modify or replace analytical methods and/or techniques with safer ones, making it possible to reduce the amounts of reagents consumed and waste generated.

In the last year, the research team developed new green analytical procedures for the analysis of three cardiovascular drugs in their ternary mixture using green analytical spectrophotometric methods and RP-HPLC method. Chemometric assisted UV spectrophotometric methods, as a green analytical chemistry, and RP-HPLC method were developed and validated. The applied chemometric methods are based on Fourier function convolution and Double divisor ratio spectra Fourier function. By applying the chemometric-assisted methods, good percentage recoveries were obtained in quantifying each of the drugs in their triple mixture. The established method was also applied in samples spiked with plasma; the peaks were well separated from each other and from plasma protein peaks. The methods were validated in terms of linearity, LOD, LOQ, precision and accuracy.

The research involved master student in an attempt to develop procedures and methods that is eco-friendly for newly introduced anti diabetic drugs. In addition, the research team will investigate a new research about analysis of closely related antioxidant nutraceuticals using green analytical methodology of ANN and smart spectrophotometric methods.

The most important challenge to the future of this discipline is to reach a compromise between the increasing quality of the results and the improving environmental friendliness.