Drug delivery systems

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Chapter: Pharmaceutical Drugs and Dosage: Drug delivery systems

Drug delivery systems (DDSs) are polymeric or lipid carrier systems that transport drugs to their targets or receptor sites in a manner that provides their maximum therapeutic activity, prevent their degradation or inactivation during transit to the target site(s).


Drug delivery systems

Introduction

Drug delivery systems (DDSs) are polymeric or lipid carrier systems that transport drugs to their targets or receptor sites in a manner that provides their maximum therapeutic activity, prevent their degradation or inactiva-tion during transit to the target site(s), and protect the body from adverse reactions due to inappropriate disposition. The goal of a DDS is to release the drug(s) to simultaneously provide maximal safety, effectiveness, and reliability (Figure 14.1). Design of an effective delivery system requires a thorough understanding of the drug, the disease, and the target site. Various physicochemical product properties that influence the quality features of plasma clearance kinetics, tissue distribution, metabolism, and cellular interactions of a drug can often be controlled by using a delivery system.

DDSs can broadly be classified into two groups: macromolecular drug carrier systems and particulate carrier systems (such as, microspheres, nanospheres, and liposomes). For site-specific delivery, the drug is released directly into a specific area, whereas in non-site-specific delivery, the drug is released and it enters the body systemically. Following administration, tar-geting of drugs to specific sites in the body can be achieved by linking par-ticulate systems or macromolecular carriers to monoclonal antibodies or to cell-specific ligands (e.g., asialofetuin, glycoproteins, and immunoglobulins) or by alterations in the surface characteristics, so that they are not recog-nized by the reticuloendothelial system (RES). 


Figure 14.1 Objectives of a dosage form or a drug delivery system.


Figure 14.2 Commonly used nanocarriers for drug delivery and targeting.

The ability of a macromolar or particulate carrier system to deliver a drug to a target site depends on the following characteristics: molecular weight/size, surface charge, surface hydrophobicity, and presence of targeting ligands. Figure 14.2 shows com-monly used nanocarriers for drug delivery and targeting.

In this chapter, various DDSs will be described. Biological events and processes influencing drug targeting will also be discussed. This chapter will provide the reader with an insight into the rapid developments in the area of drug delivery and targeting.

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