Cellulose nanofibers as excipient for the delivery of poorly soluble drugs
Poor aqueous solubility of drugs is becoming an increasingly pronounced challenge in the formulation and development of drug delivery systems. To overcome the limitations associated with these problematic drugs, formulation scientists are required to use enabling strategies which often demands the use of new excipients. Cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) is such an excipient and it has only recently been described in the pharmaceutical field. In this review, the use of CNF in drug formulation with a focus on poorly soluble drugs is featured. In particular, the aim is to describe and discuss the many unique properties of CNFs, which make CNFs attractive as excipients in pharmaceutical sciences. Furthermore, the use of CNF as stabilizers for crystalline drug nanoparticles, as a matrix former to obtain a long-lasting sustained drug release over several weeks and as a film former with immediate release properties for poorly soluble drug are reported. Finally, the preparation of pharmaceutical CNF foams together with poorly soluble drugs is highlighted; foams, which offer a sustained drug delivery system with positive buoyancy.