Iranian Polymer Journal

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 251–258 | Cite as

Venlafaxine-loaded sustained-release poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate-co-itaconic acid) hydrogel composites: their synthesis and in vitro/in vivo attributes

  • Liaqat Ali
  • Mahmood Ahmad
  • Muhammad Naeem AamirEmail author
  • Muhammad Usman Minhas
  • Akhtar Rasul
  • Muhammad Yousuf
  • Hina Hussain
  • Jawad Ahmad Khan
  • Muhammad Sohail
Original Research


Hydrogels have potential applications as sustained-release drug delivery systems, as an example in treatment of major depressive disorders. This paper reports some works carried out to obtain a new type of copolymeric hydrogel for an anti-depressant drug. The copolymerization of itaconic acid, hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), and tetraethyleneglycol dimethacrylate was performed. The gels were evaluated for swelling, diffusion coefficient, drug incorporation, in vitro dissolution, and in vivo performance in rabbits after oral administration. The pharmacokinetic parameters like bioavailability, Cmax and Tmax were calculated for hydrogels in comparison to oral solution containing equivalent amount of venlafaxine. The HEMA-based matrices showed negligible swelling and release rate of venlafaxine, which were also very low in a buffer of pH 1.2. However, both the swelling and release rate of venlafaxine were faster at high pH (6.5 and 7.5). The Tmax of the formulation with the highest swelling and release rate (T1) were found at 600 min compared to that at 180 min for oral solution having equivalent quantity of venlafaxine. AUC0–∞ for oral hydrogel was 2.1 times greater than that for oral solution of venlafaxine. Similarly, MRT for hydrogel was 3.1 times more than that for oral solution. However, Cmax for oral cross-linked hydrogel composite was significantly lower than that for equivalent amount of oral drug solution. The synthesized hydrogel composites showed a promising ability for sustained release of venlafaxine both in vitro and in vivo. It was found that venlafaxine delivery through oral route was practical.


Poly(hydroxyethylmethacrylate-co-itaconic acid) hydrogel Sustained-release venlafaxine Copolymerization Physicochemical testing Pharmacokinetic parameters 



The authors of this article are highly thankful to Higher Education Commission of Pakistan for funding this study.

Author contributions

We declare that the author named in this article did this work and all liabilities pertaining to claims relating to the content of this article will be borne by the authors. LA (formulation development), MUM and JAK (manuscript writing), MNA (study designing and publication processing), MA and HH (proofreading), AR (statistical data analysis), MS (data collection for TGA/FTIR) and MY (in vivo studies data collection).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no financial interest or other conflicts of interest associated with this work.


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Copyright information

© Iran Polymer and Petrochemical Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liaqat Ali
    • 1
  • Mahmood Ahmad
    • 1
  • Muhammad Naeem Aamir
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Muhammad Usman Minhas
    • 1
  • Akhtar Rasul
    • 2
  • Muhammad Yousuf
    • 1
  • Hina Hussain
    • 3
  • Jawad Ahmad Khan
    • 4
  • Muhammad Sohail
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Pharmacy and Alternative MedicineThe Islamic University of BahawalpurBahawalpurPakistan
  2. 2.Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesGovernment College University FaisalabadFaisalabadPakistan
  3. 3.Institute of Biopharmacy and Pharmaceutical TechnologyMartin-Luther-UniversityHalleGermany
  4. 4.Shah Abdul Latif UniversityKhairpurPakistan

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