Intravaginal rings for continuous low-dose administration of cervical ripening agents

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Graphical abstractIntravaginal rings (VRs) have been widely reported for administration of pharmaceutical drugs – most notably estrogens, progestogens and antiretrovirals – to the vagina for clinical benefit. Here, for the first time, we describe the design, manufacture and preclinical testing of VRs for sustained/controlled release of the cervical ripening agents isosorbide mononitrate (ISMN) and misoprostol (MP), either singly or in combination. Matrix-type silicone elastomer VRs containing ISMN showed declining daily release rates, ranging from 31 to 168 mg (Day 1) to 3–25 mg (Day 11). Novel orifice-type rings, in which a MP-containing silicone elastomer core is partially exposed to the external environment by overmolding with a non-medicated silicone elastomer sheath containing orifices, provided relatively constant daily MP release rates over 14 days (˜20 or 60 μg/day depending on the formulation type). Combination VRs offered simultaneous release of both ISMN and MP over 14 days, with an almost constant MP release rate (60 μg/day) and steadily declining daily ISMN release (295 mg on Day 1 and 24 mg on Day 11). The VR design can be readily tailored to provide sustained or controlled release of ISMN and MP at rates potentially useful for cervical ripening.

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