Gastric Retention and Mucoadhesion

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The control of drug liberation profile has been the main concern of pharmaceutical industry during the last 25 years. We are facing another challenge which is the close control of the drug course inside the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). New drug discoveries are dramatically declining, while more and more “blockbuster” drugs will lose their patent protection.

New drugs are complex, have low solubility, high molecular weight causing important side effects and allergic response.

Better care with lower dosage could be obtained if drugs (old and new ones) would remain longer in the GIT. Lengthening of the gastrointestinal residence time (GRT) is achievable through formulation ( galenic) improvement.

Gastroretention, Mucoadhesion (fixation to the intestine wall) and Encapsulation are the three main phenomena to combine and master. They would allow better compliance and acceptance.

Moreover, anyone concerned with the efficiency of probiotics should pay great attention to the phenomena involved in the mechanism of mucoadhesion and to the relevant polymers.

Finally, only few polymers would promote mucoadhesion of alien microorganisms. Compatibility with the gastro-intestinal mucus is of greatest importance so their selection and evaluation are critical.