AAPS PharmSciTech

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

Optimization of a Dual Mechanism Gastrofloatable and Gastroadhesive Delivery System for Narrow Absorption Window Drugs

  • Caragh Murphy
  • Viness Pillay
  • Yahya E. Choonara
  • Lisa C. du Toit
  • Valence M. K. Ndesendo
  • Nthato Chirwa
  • Pradeep Kumar
Research Article Theme: Advanced Technologies for Oral Controlled Release


In order to overcome poor bioavailability of narrow absorption window drugs, a gastrosphere system comprising two mechanisms of gastric retention, namely buoyancy and gastroadhesion, has been investigated in this study employing poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), polyacrylic acid (PAA), alginate, pectin, and a model drug metformin hydrochloride. Fifteen formulations were obtained using a Box–Behnken statistical design. The gastrosphere yield was above 80% in all cases; however, due to the high water solubility of metformin, drug entrapment efficacy was between 18% and 54%. Mean dissolution time and gastroadhesive strength were used as the formulation responses in order to optimize the formulation. Furthermore, the molecular mechanics force field simulations were performed to corroborate the experimental findings. Drug release profiles revealed three different release kinetics, namely, burst, first-order and zero-order release. Varying gastroadhesive results were obtained, and were highly sensitive to changes in polymer concentrations. FTIR revealed that strong bonds of PAA and PLGA were retained within the gastrosphere. Surface area and porosity analysis provided supporting evidence that the lyophilization process resulted in a significant increase in the porosity. Analysis of the surface morphology by SEM revealed that air pockets were spread over the entire surface of the gastrosphere, providing a visual proof of the high porosity and hence low density of the gastrosphere. The spatial disposition and energetic profile of the sterically constrained and geometrically optimized multi-polymeric complex of alginate, pectin, PAA, and PLGA corroborated the experimental results in terms of in vitro drug release and gastroadhesive strength of the fabricated gastrospheres.


Box–Behnken design gastroretentive drug delivery molecular mechanics simulations narrow absorption window drugs polymeric gastrosphere synthesis 


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caragh Murphy
    • 1
  • Viness Pillay
    • 1
  • Yahya E. Choonara
    • 1
  • Lisa C. du Toit
    • 1
  • Valence M. K. Ndesendo
    • 1
  • Nthato Chirwa
    • 1
  • Pradeep Kumar
    • 1
  1. 1.University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Pharmacy and PharmacologyJohannesburgSouth Africa

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