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J Control Release. 2009 Mar 4;134(2):74-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2008.11.011. Epub 2008 Nov 24.

Multiparticulate formulation approach to pulsatile drug delivery: current perspectives.

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  • 1National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Ahmedabad. C/o. B.V. Patel Pharmaceutical Education and Research Development Centre, Ahmedabad, India.


In the body under physiological conditions, many vital functions are regulated by transient release of bioactive substances at a specific time and site. Thus, to mimic the function of living systems and in view of emerging chronotherapeutic approaches, pulsatile delivery, which is meant to release a drug following programmed lag phase, has attracted increasing interest in recent years. In pursuit of pulsatile release, various design strategies have been proposed, broadly categorized into single-unit and multiple-unit systems. However, in recent pharmaceutical applications involving pulsatile delivery, multiparticulate dosage forms are gaining much favor over single-unit dosage forms because of their potential benefits like predictable gastric emptying, no risk of dose dumping, flexible release patterns and increased bioavailability with less inter- and intra-subject variability. Based on these premises, the aim of the present review is to survey the main multiparticulate pulsatile delivery systems, for which the swelling and rupturing; dissolution or erosion; and changed permeability of the coating membrane are primarily involved in the control of release. The development of low density floating multiparticulate pulsed-release dosage forms possessing gastric retention capabilities has also been addressed with increasing focus on the upcoming multiparticulate-pulsatile technologies being exploited on an industrial scale.

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