Drugs acting as plasticizers in polymeric systems: A quantitative treatment

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The objective of the present study was to investigate and quantify the effects of ibuprofen, chlorpheniramine maleate and metoprolol tartrate on the thermal, mechanical and diffusional properties of polyacrylate-based films. Thin drug-containing films were prepared from organic Eudragit RS solutions and physicochemically characterized with respect to their glass transition temperature, mechanical properties and drug release kinetics in phosphate buffer pH 7.4. The apparent diffusion coefficient of the drug within the polymeric systems was determined by fitting an adequate solution of Fick's second law of diffusion to the experimentally determined release profiles. Importantly, the glass transition temperature of the films significantly decreased with increasing initial drug content, whereas the film flexibility and drug release rate increased. This clearly indicates that the three drugs act as efficient plasticizers for Eudragit RS. Interestingly, the mathematical analysis revealed that drug release was primarily controlled by diffusion. An increase in the initial drug content resulted in increased drug diffusivities and, thus, accelerated (absolute and relative) drug release rates. Importantly, quantitative relationships could be established between the drug diffusivity and the initial drug content. Based on this knowledge, the effects of the films' composition and thickness on the resulting drug release kinetics (also from coated solid dosage forms) can be predicted in a quantitative way.

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