Polymeric films for buccal drug delivery

  • Songjie Chen

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The aim of this research project is to evaluate whether or not pullulan films are suitable to buccal drug delivery of a phosphodiesterase5 (PDE5) inhibitor yonkenafil, which was discovered in our research group and currently is under phase II clinical trial for treatment of erectile dysfunction. Variable formulations of pullulan films were designed and the films were prepared. Mechanical properties of the films, in vitro drug release and polymer dissolution, in vitro drug penetration through porcine esophageal mucosa were investigated. The plasticization effects of solvents, polyols and acids to the films were studied by tensile test, and differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, fourier transform-infrared, scanning electron microscopy, optical microscopy was applied to analyse the structure and chemical-bonding between pullulan and the additives within the films. Release mathematics models were used in the study of the mechanism of drug releases and polymer dissolutions. Ethanol, menthol, fatty acids, and sodium dodecyl sulphate were employed as penetration enhancers to pretreat the tissue.
Various plasticizers and acids were applied into the films and the result showed polyethylene glycol 400 and 600 had the excellent plasticization effect on the drug-free pullulan films, while lactic acid was the best plasticizer for the drug-loaded films. Both PEG400 and lactic acid had a great effect on the drug release from the films in vitro, and all the results indicated that the hydroxyl and carboxyl groups of pullulan and the additives influenced the mechanical properties of the films significantly, and also altered drug release mechanisms. Ethanol shows the greatest enhancing ability on the drug permeation through the porcine esophageal mucosa. A possible mechanism for this is that ethanol interferes with the structure of the lipids in the mucosa, resulting in increased partitioning of the drug into the membrane.
Date of AwardJun 2009
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBarbara R Conway (Supervisor) & Yong F Wang (Supervisor)


  • polymeric film
  • buccal drug delivery
  • pullulan
  • yonkenafil

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