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Int J Nanomedicine. 2010 Nov 10;5:943-54. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S12947.

Sustained-release progesterone nanosuspension following intramuscular injection in ovariectomized rats.

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Faculty of Pharmacy, Beni-Suef University, Beni-Suef, Egypt.


The production of an intramuscular (IM) injection of natural progesterone would provide a safer solution than using semi synthetic progesterone. However, disadvantages such as low solubility and a short half life prevent the use of natural progesterone. In this study, we formulated a sustained release form of natural progesterone to be given as IM injection. A progesterone nanosuspension (PNS) was first developed and then dispersed in a thermosensitive gel matrix. The selected nanoparticles showed an average particle size of 267 nm and a zeta potential approaching-41 mV. The in vitro release profile of PNS from the F127 plus methyl cellulose gel followed zero order kinetics and correlated linearly with the weight percentage of gel dissolved, demonstrating that the overall rate of release of PNS is controlled by dissolution of the pluronic F127/methyl cellulose (MC) gel (r² > 0.99). The pharmacokinetic parameters of the PNS (6 mg/mL) in pluronic F127/MC gel were evaluated in comparison with the control progesterone suspension. After the administration of PNS in F127/MC gel into the rats, a maximum serum concentration of 22.1 ± 1.9 ng/mL was reached at a T(max) of 4.05 ± 0.1 h. The terminal half life was 12.7 ± 0.8 h. The area under the curve AUC₀₋∞ of the injected formula was 452.75 ± 42.8 ng·h/mL and the total mean residence time was 18.57 ± 1.44 h. The PNS in gel was significantly different from the control in rate and extent at P < 0.001. The natural progesterone which was nanosized and formulated in a thermosensitive gel significantly sustained the action of natural progesterone so that it could be injected every 36 h instead of every day. Moreover, this formula is expected to provide a much safer choice than the use of semi-synthetic progesterone.


nanosuspension; ovariectomized female rats; progesterone; thermosensitive gel

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