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Pharm Res. 2003 Dec;20(12):2001-7.

Magnetic resonance imaging for the in vivo evaluation of gastric-retentive tablets.

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  • 1Biophysics Group, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University and ETH Zurich Gloriastrasse, 35 CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.



To develop a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique for assessing in vivo properties of orally ingested gastric-retentive tablets under physiologic conditions.


Tablets with different floating characteristics (tablet A-C) were marked with superparamagnetic Fe3O4 particles to analyze intragastric tablet position and residence time in human volunteers. Optimal Fe3O4 concentration was determined in vitro. Intragastric release characteristic of one slow-release tablet (tablet D) was analyzed by embedding gadolinium chelates (Gd-DOTA) as a drug model into the tablet. All volunteers underwent MRI in the sitting position. Tablet performance was analyzed in terms of relative position of tablet to intragastric meal level (with 100% at meal surface), intragastric residence time (min) and Gd-DOTA distribution volume (% of meal volume).


Intragastric tablet floating performance and residence time of tablets (tablet A-D) as well as the intragastric Gd-DOTA distribution of tablet D could be monitored using MRI. Tablet floating performance was different between the tablets (A, 93%(95 - 9%); B, 80%(80 - 68%): C, 38%(63 - 32%); p < 0.05). The intragastric distribution volume of Gd-DOTA was 19.9% proximally and 35.5% distally.


The use of MRI allows the assessment of galenic properties of orally ingested tablets in humans in seated position.

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