Polymer Bulletin

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 197–211 | Cite as

Swelling behaviour and paracetamol release from poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-itaconic acid) hydrogels

  • Melina Kalagasidis Krušić
  • Marija Ilić
  • Jovanka Filipović
Original Paper


Copolymer hydrogels of N-isopropylacrylamide and itaconic acid (IA), crosslinked with N,N′-methylenebisacrylamide, were prepared by radical copolymerization. These hydrogels were investigated with regard to their composition to find materials with satisfactory swelling and drug release properties. A paracetamol is used as a model drug to investigate drug release profile of the hydrogels. It was found that the investigated hydrogels exhibited pH- and temperature-dependent swelling behaviour with restricted swelling and lower equilibrium degree of swelling at lower pH values and temperatures above the LCST value of PNIPAM (around 34 °C). The diffusion exponent for paracetamol release indicate that the mechanism of paracetamol release are governed by Fickian diffusion, while in all release media initial diffusion coefficient was lower than late time diffusion coefficient. Furthermore, the paracetamol release rate depends on the hydrogel degree of swelling and it increased in the first stage of diffusion process, whereas was no significant difference thereafter. The presence of the IA moieties incorporated into the network weakened the shear resistance of the hydrogels. In order to calculate the pore size the characteristic ratio for PNIPAM, C n  = 11.7, was calculated. Based on the pore size, the investigated hydrogels can be regarded as microporous. According to the obtained results swelling behaviour, mechanical properties, drug-loading capacity and the drug release rate could be controlled by hydrogel composition and crosslinking density, which is important for application of the investigated hydrogels as drug delivery systems.


Swelling behaviour Paracetamol release Diffusion Drug release rate 



The authors acknowledge funding from the Ministry of Sciences of the Republic of Serbia, Fundamental Science Project No. 142023 ‘The synthesis and Characterization of Polymer (Nano)Composites of Defined Molecular and Supermolecular Structure’


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melina Kalagasidis Krušić
    • 1
  • Marija Ilić
    • 2
  • Jovanka Filipović
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Technology and MetallurgyUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of SerbiaBelgradeSerbia

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