Papain wound dressings obtained from poly(vinyl alcohol)/calcium alginate blends as new pharmaceutical dosage form: Preparation and preliminary evaluation

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Transparent, soft, flexible, mechanically resistant films, which are ideal for use as wound dressings were prepared in the presence of 2% papain, a proteolytic enzyme that can play a role in the chemical debridement of the skin and can accelerate the healing process. The films, based on poly(vinyl alcohol):calcium alginate blends with increasing concentrations of polysaccharide (10, 20, and 30% v/v), were obtained by casting method. FTIR and DSC analyses were performed to assess the composition and miscibility of blends. Mechanical properties such as tensile strength, elasticity modulus, and elongation at breakpoint were evaluated. The influence of different concentrations of calcium alginate on physical attributes of films like wettability, swelling capacity and mechanical properties was determined. The stability of papain in the films was assessed indirectly by hemolytic activity assay employing direct contact method and confirmed by technique based on blood agar diffusion. Preliminary cytotoxicity was evaluated with the XTT method. The results showed that at the polymer concentrations tested, the blends were miscible. The increase in the content of the calcium alginate increased the wettability and swelling capacity of the films, which is desirable in wound dressings. On the other hand, mechanical resistance decreased without causing breakage of the films during the swelling tests. The hemolytic activity of the films was maintained during the studied period, suggesting the stability of papain in the proposed formulations. Cellular viability indicated that the films were non-toxic. The analysis of the results showed that it is possible to prepare interactive and bioactive wound dressing containing papain from blends of PVA and calcium alginate polymers.

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