Development and characterisation of electrospun timolol maleate-loaded polymeric contact lens coatings containing various permeation enhancers

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Despite exponential growth in research relating to sustained and controlled ocular drug delivery, anatomical and chemical barriers of the eye still pose formulation challenges. Nanotechnology integration into the pharmaceutical industry has aided efforts in potential ocular drug device development. Here, the integration and in vitro effect of four different permeation enhancers (PEs) on the release of anti-glaucoma drug timolol maleate (TM) from polymeric nanofiber formulations is explored. Electrohydrodynamic (EHD) engineering, more specifically electrospinning, was used to engineer nanofibers (NFs) which coated the exterior of contact lenses. Parameters used for engineering included flow rates ranging from 8 to 15 μL/min and a novel EHD deposition system was used; capable of hosting four lenses, masked template and a ground electrode to direct charged atomised structures. SEM analysis of the electrospun structures confirmed the presence of smooth nano-fibers; whilst thermal analysis confirmed the stability of all formulations. In vitro release studies demonstrated a triphasic release; initial burst release with two subsequent sustained release phases with most of the drug being released after 24 h (86.7%) Biological evaluation studies confirmed the tolerability of all formulations tested with release kinetics modelling results showing drug release was via quasi-Fickian or Fickian diffusion. There were evident differences (p < 0.05) in TM release dependant on permeation enhancer.Graphical abstract

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