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Chitosan and its half-acetylated derivative have been compared as excipients in mucoadhesive tablets containing ibuprofen. Initially the powder formulations containing the polymers and the drug were prepared by either co-spray drying or physical co-grinding. Polymer–drug interactions and the degree of drug crystallinity in these formulations were assessed by infrared spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. Tablets were prepared and their swelling and dissolution properties were studied in media of various pHs. Mucoadhesive properties of ibuprofen-loaded and drug-free tablets were evaluated by analysing their detachment from pig gastric mucosa over a range of pHs. Greater polymer–drug interactions were seen for spray-dried particles compared to co-ground samples and drug loading into chitosan-based microparticles (41%) was greater than the corresponding half-acetylated samples (32%). Swelling and drug release was greater with the half-acetylated chitosan tablets than tablets containing the parent polymer and both tablets were mucoadhesive, the extent of which was dependent on substrate pH. The results illustrate the potential sustained drug delivery benefits of both chitosan and its half-acetylated derivative as mucoadhesive tablet excipients.