Thiolated polymers as mucoadhesive drug delivery systems
Mucoadhesion is the process of binding a material to the mucosal layer of the body. Utilising both natural and synthetic polymers, mucoadhesive drug delivery is a method of controlled drug release which allows for intimate contact between the polymer and a target tissue. It has the potential to increase bioavailability, decrease potential side effects and offer protection to more sensitive drugs such as proteins and peptide based drugs. The thiolation of polymers has, in the last number of years, come to the fore of mucoadhesive drug delivery, markedly improving mucoadhesion due to the introduction of free thiol groups onto the polymer backbone while also offering a more cohesive polymeric matrix for the slower and more controlled release of drug. This review explores the concept of mucoadhesion and the recent advances in both the polymers and the methods of thiolation used in the synthesis of mucoadhesive drug delivery devices.