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Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2012 Jan;9(1):71-89. doi: 10.1517/17425247.2012.641950. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Drug delivery applications for superporous hydrogels.

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Nova Southeastern University, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 3200 South University Dr, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328, USA.



Considerable advances have been made to hydrogels with the development of faster swelling superporous hydrogels (SPHs). These new-generation hydrogels have large numbers of interconnected pores, giving them the capacity to absorb large amounts of water at an accelerated rate. This gives SPHs the ability to be used in a variety of novel drug delivery applications, such as gastric retention and peroral intestinal delivery of proteins and peptides.


This review focuses on the applications of SPHs for drug transport and targeted drug therapies, as well as the characteristics and historical advancements made to SPH synthesis as it pertains to drug delivery. Manufacturing considerations and challenges that must be overcome are also discussed, such as scale-up, biocompatibility and safety.


Modern SPHs have high swelling and high mechanical strength making them suitable for many diverse pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. However, demonstrative preclinical animal studies still need to be confirmed in human trials, to further address safety issues and confirm therapeutic success when using SPHs as platforms for drug delivery. The focus of forthcoming applications of SPHs is likely to be in the area of oral site-specific delivery and regenerative medicine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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