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J Control Release. 1998 Mar 31;52(3):227-37.

Polyorganophosphazene microspheres for drug release: polymer synthesis, microsphere preparation, in vitro and in vivo naproxen release.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Centro di Studio di Chimica del Farmaco e dei Prodotti Biologicamente Attivi del CNR, University of Padova, Italy.


Microsphere preparation for naproxen slow release was investigated using two newly prepared biodegradable polyorganophosphazenes, derivatized at the phosphorus atoms with phenylalanine ethyl ester and imidazole at molar ratios of 71/29 and 80/20. The polymers were prepared by substitution of the chloride atoms of polydichlorophosphazene with a phenylalanine ethyl ester-imidazole mixture followed, after 7 or 48 h reaction, by the addition of excess imidazole. Three methods of microsphere preparation have been considered: spray-drying, emulsion/solvent evaporation and emulsion/solvent evaporation-extraction. Microparticles obtained by spray-drying were found to possess a narrow distribution size with a mean diameter of 2-5 microm. Their internal structure consisted of a porous or empty core depending upon the solvent used for the preparation. Furthermore the microspheres prepared with this technique rapidly released the entrapped naproxen independently of the used polymer, the drug loading or the preparation process. On the other hand microspheres prepared by solvent evaporation or solvent evaporation-extraction showed a distribution size ranging between 10 and 100 microm. By the appropriate choice of pH and solvent composition of the external phase, naproxen could be entrapped, in these microspheres, with a yield higher of 80%. The polymer composition dictates the in vitro release rate of naproxen from the particles, which was faster when the microspheres were prepared with the polymer at higher imidazole content. In vivo experiments, carried out by subcutaneous implantation in rats of microspheres prepared by solvent evaporation, demonstrated that a constant level of naproxen in plasma could be maintained up to 400 h at a suitable concentration for antinflammatory activity.

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