Investigation of a new pH-responsive nanoparticulate pore former for controlled release enteric coating with improved processability and stability

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Water-soluble polymers are often used as pore formers to tailor permeability of film-forming hydrophobic polymers on coated dosage forms. However, their addition to a coating formulation could significantly increase the viscosity thus making the coating process difficult. Moreover, the dissolution of pore formers after oral administration could compromise film integrity resulting in undesirable, inconsistent release profiles. Therefore, a non-leaching, pH-responsive nanoparticulate pore former is proposed herein to preserve film integrity and maintain pH-dependent permeability. Poly(methacrylic acid)-polysorbate 80-grafted-starch terpolymer nanoparticles (TPNs) were incorporated within an ethylcellulose (EC) film (TPN-EC) by casting or spray coating. TPNs at 10%wt (pore former level) only increased viscosity of EC coating suspension slightly while conventional pore formers increased the viscosity by 490–11,700%. Negligible leaching of TPNs led to superior mechanical properties of TPN-EC films compared to Eudragit® L-EC films. As pH increased from 1.2 to 6.8, TPN-EC films with 10% pore former level exhibited an 8-fold higher diltiazem permeability compared to Eudragit® L-EC films. The pH-dependent drug release kinetics of diltiazem HCl beads coated with TPN-EC films was tunable by adjusting the pore former level. These results suggest that the TPNs are promising pH-sensitive nanoparticulate pore formers in EC-coated dosage forms.

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