AAPS PharmSciTech

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 3–14 | Cite as

Overview and Future Potential of Buccal Mucoadhesive Films as Drug Delivery Systems for Biologics

  • Miguel Montenegro-Nicolini
  • Javier O. Morales
Review Article Theme: Formulation and Delivery of Macromolecules
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Theme: Formulation and Delivery of Macromolecules


The main route of administration for drug products is the oral route, yet biologics are initially developed as injectables due to their limited stability through the gastrointestinal tract and solubility issues. In order to avoid injections, a myriad of investigations on alternative administration routes that can bypass enzymatic degradation and the first-pass effect are found in the literature. As an alternative site for biologics absorption, the buccal route presents with a number of advantages. The buccal mucosa is a barrier, providing protection to underlying tissue, but is more permeable than other alternative routes such as the skin. Buccal films are polymeric matrices designed to be mucoadhesive properties and usually formulated with permeability enhancers to improve bioavailability. Conventionally, buccal films for biologics are manufactured by solvent casting, yet recent developments have shown the potential of hot melt extrusion, and most recently ink jet printing as promising strategies. This review aims at depicting the field of biologics-loaded mucoadhesive films as buccal drug delivery systems. In light of the literature available, the buccal epithelium is a promising route for biologics administration, which is reflected in clinical trials currently in progress, looking forward to register and commercialize the first biologic product formulated as a buccal film.


biologics buccal delivery casting hot melt extrusion inkjet printing 



M. Montenegro-Nicolini acknowledges the funding support from CONICYT 21150995. J. O. Morales thanks the financial support from FONDECYT 11130235 and FONDAP 15130011.


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel Montenegro-Nicolini
    • 1
    • 2
  • Javier O. Morales
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Instituto de Salud Pública de ChileSantiagoChile
  3. 3.Advanced Center for Chronic Diseases (ACCDiS)SantiagoChile

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