Improvement of Tenofovir vaginal release from hydrophilic matrices through drug granulation with hydrophobic polymers

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Sustained-release vaginal microbicides hold out great hope for the prevention of sexual transmission of HIV from men to women. Tenofovir (TFV) –an antiretroviral drug– sustained-release vaginal compacts combining two release control systems (by drug-loading granules with hydrophobic polymers and incorporating them in a hydrophilic matrix) are proposed in this work as a possible microbicide. The polymers used for the drug granules are Eudragit® RS (ERS), an acrylic derivative, and Zein, a maize protein. The hydrophilic matrix is composed of a mixture of hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose (HPMC) and chitosan (CH). The thermal, microscopic, spectrophotometric and X-ray diffraction analysis showed that the drug was not altered during the granulation process. Studies of TFV release, swelling and ex vivo mucoadhesion were subsequently performed on simulated vaginal fluid. The formulation whereby TFV is granulated using twice its weight in ERS, and then including these granules in a matrix in which the CH predominates over HPMC, allows the sustained release of TFV for 144 h, mucoadhesion to the vaginal mucosa for 150 h and a moderate swelling, making it the most suitable formulation of all those studied. These compacts would therefore offer women protection against the sexual acquisition of HIV.

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