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Oral controlled release (CR) formulations have many benefits and have become a valuable resource for the local and systemic administration of drugs. The most important characteristic of these pharmaceutical products is that drug absorption occurs mainly in the colon. Therefore, this review analyses the physiological and physicochemical features that may affect an orally administered CR product, as well as the different strategies to develop a CR dosage form and the methods used to evaluate the formulation efficacy. The models available to study the intestinal permeability and their applicability to colonic permeability determinations are also discussed.