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Polymers (Basel). 2019 Jun 28;11(7). pii: E1095. doi: 10.3390/polym11071095.

Plasticiser-Free 3D Printed Hydrophilic Matrices: Quantitative 3D Surface Texture, Mechanical, Swelling, Erosion, Drug Release and Pharmacokinetic Studies.

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Department of Pharmacy, School of Applied Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK.
College of Pharmacy, University of Sargodha, Sargodha 40100, Pakistan.
System Engineering Department, Military Technological College, Muscat 111, Oman.
The Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solid Handling Technology, University of Greenwich, London SE10 9LS, UK.
School of Computing and Engineering, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK.
Department of Pharmacy, School of Applied Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK.


Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose, HPMC, a hydrophilic polymer, is widely used for the development of extended release hydrophilic matrices and it is also considered as a good contender for the fabrication of 3D printing of matrix tablets. It is often combined with plasticisers to enable extrusion. The aim of the current project was to develop plasticizer-free 3D printed hydrophilic matrices using drug loaded filaments prepared via HME to achieve an in vitro (swelling, erosion and drug release) and in vivo (drug absorption) performance which is analogous to hydrophilic matrix tablets developed through conventional approaches. Additionally, the morphology of the printed tablets was studied using quantitative 3D surface texture studies and the porosity calculated. Filaments were produced successfully and used to produce matrix tablets with acceptable drug loading (95-105%), mechanical and surface texture properties regardless of the employed HPMC grade. The viscosity of HPMC had a discernible impact on the swelling, erosion, HPMC dissolution, drug release and pharmacokinetic findings. The highest viscosity grade (K100M) results in higher degree of swelling, decreased HPMC dissolution, low matrix erosion, decreased drug release and extended drug absorption profile. Overall, this study demonstrated that the drug loaded (glipizide) filaments and matrix tablets of medium to high viscosity grades of HPMC, without the aid of plasticisers, can be successfully prepared. Furthermore, the in vitro and in vivo studies have revealed the successful fabrication of extended release matrices.


3D printing; 3D surface texture; Young’s modulus; drug release; erosion; hot melt extrusion; hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC); pharmacokinetics; swelling

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