In-situforming PLGA implants for intraocular dexamethasone delivery

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Different types of in-situ forming implants based on poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and N-methyl-pyrrolidone (NMP) were prepared for controlled ocular delivery of dexamethasone. The impact of the volume of the release medium, initial drug content, polymer molecular weight and PLGA concentration on the resulting drug release kinetics were studied and explained based on a thorough physico-chemical characterization of the systems. This included for instance the monitoring of dynamic changes in the implants’ wet and dry mass, morphology, PLGA polymer molecular weight, pH of the surrounding bulk fluid and water/NMP contents upon exposure to phosphate buffer pH 7.4. Importantly, the systems can be expected to be rather robust with respect to variations in the vitreous humor volumes encountered in vivo. Interestingly, limited drug solubility effects within the implants as well as in the surrounding aqueous medium play an important role for the control of drug release at a drug loading of only 7.5%. Furthermore, the polymer molecular weight and PLGA concentration in the liquid formulations are decisive for how the polymer precipitates during solvent exchange and for the swelling behavior of the systems. These features determine the resulting inner system structure and the conditions for mass transport. Consequently, they affect the degradation and drug release of the in-situ formed implants.

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