Rheological analysis and mucoadhesion: A 30 year-old and still active combination

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HighlightsRheological analysis is an approach widely used to assess the mucoadhesion potential of polymers and formulations.Interpenetration and wetting theories are the most accredited theories to explain mucoadhesion.The rheological interaction with the mucoadhesive polymers can be influenced by the way the mucin samples are prepared.The rheological interaction of polymers of different chemical nature with mucin had to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.At the end of 80s and in the early 90s, an increasing interest in the development of mucoadhesive formulations occurred in the pharmaceutical field. Such formulations, prolonging the drug permanence on the mucosa of action/absorption, improve drug availability/bioavailability and therefore its therapeutic effectiveness. Among the various methods reported in the literature for the evaluation of the mucoadhesive properties of polymers, in the early 1990s, the study of the rheological variation of the polymer solutions after mixing with a mucin solution/dispersion has been proposed as an approach to measure the strength of the mucoadhesive joint. Even today, both viscosity and viscoelastic measurements are used to evaluate the ability of polymers and formulations to adhere to the mucosa of application/action. This review aims at providing an overview of the rheological approaches employed in the development and characterization of mucoadhesive formulation, highlighting their advantages and disadvantages. To do this the scientific path that, since the beginning of the 90s, has led to the affirmation of the rheological analysis as a useful tool for the evaluation of the strength of the mucoadhesive bond is retraced.

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