What are drug delivery systems?

Drug delivery systems are engineered technologies that enable therapeutic agents to be delivered with precision and/or controlled release. Drugs have long been used to help people live longer and healthier lives. In the last few decades, the practise of drug delivery has changed significantly, and even more improvements are expected in the near future. Biomedical engineers have made significant contributions to our understanding of physiological barriers to efficient drug delivery, such as drug transport in the circulatory system and drug movement through cells and tissues, as well as the creation of many novel drug delivery modes that are now in clinical use. The rate at which a drug is released and the place in the body where it is released are both regulated by drug delivery systems. Some devices are capable of controlling both.

In today's medical practise, how are drug delivery technologies used?

Clinicians have traditionally sought to target their therapies to body parts that are at risk or affected by disease. Side effects can occur depending on the drug, how it is administered, and how our bodies respond. The type and severity of these side effects can differ greatly from person to person. For instance, an oral antihistamine for seasonal allergies can cause drowsiness or upset stomach. It's normal to administer medications locally rather than systemically (across the whole body) to reduce side effects and drug toxicity while optimising the effectiveness of a medication. Any of the systemic side effects of these drugs can be avoided by using a topical (on the skin) antibacterial ointment for a localised infection or a cortisone injection in a sore joint. Other methods of targeted drug delivery exist, but certain drugs can only be administered systemically.

What are the various drug delivery methods?

Buccal Drug Delivery:

The administration of a drug via the buccal mucosa is referred to as buccal drug delivery. Since the buccal route is often used for extended-release drug delivery (in which the drug is released in a regulated manner over a long period of time), formulations that can adhere to the mucosa are favoured. For buccal delivery, a variety of formulations have been developed, including tablets, gels, lozenges, and patches.

Nasal drug administration:

Nasal drug delivery is when a drug is delivered through the nose's nasal cavity. Nasal spray drugs are typically used to treat upper respiratory tract infections that are localised. Since the thin nasal mucosa is heavily vascularized, transfer to the systemic blood circulation is fast, and first-pass metabolism can be avoided, as with buccal administration. Nasal drug delivery can be done with liquid or powder formulations.

Ocular Drug Delivery:

Owing to the eye's unique anatomy and physiology, both static, dynamic, and metabolic ocular barriers hinder drug absorption through the eye, making ocular drug delivery a challenging challenge for drug delivery scientists. For the distribution of medications to various areas of the eye, there are many different administration paths. Researchers have been able to overcome some of the difficulties of delivering drugs to ocular tissues by discovering and altering drugs to target particular efflux and influx transporters in the eye.

Oral drug delivery:

Because of its non-invasive nature, ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and highly absorptive properties, oral drug delivery is by far the most well-known and often favoured method of drug administration. To ensure that oral drug delivery is successful, the drug compound's aqueous solubility in the GI system should be evaluated to see if any changes are needed to enhance bioavailability. Oral drug delivery, on the other hand, has disadvantages in terms of suitability for some patient groups, such as children, the elderly, and those with cognitive disability.

Pulmonary Drug Delivery:

The administration of a drug through inhalation through the mouth and into the airways is referred to as pulmonary drug delivery. Because of the vast absorptive surface area and highly permeable membrane of the alveolar zone, pulmonary drug delivery has recently been investigated as a possible route of administration for systemic diseases. Dietary complications and interpatient metabolic variance have no impact on pulmonary delivery, which is an added benefit.

Sublingual drug delivery:

The word "sublingual drug delivery" refers to the administration of a drug under the tongue, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream via the tongue's ventral surface and the mouth's floor. Hepatic first-pass metabolism is also avoided with this delivery method. However, it interferes with communicating, eating, and drinking, which is inconvenient. Furthermore, smoking reduces absorption and, as a result, effectiveness of the drug due to vessel constriction, so it is not recommended for smokers.

Transdermal drug administration:

A method of administering a drug systemically by applying a formulation to intact skin is known as transdermal drug delivery. The substance first penetrates the stratum corneum, then moves into the deeper epidermis and dermis, before being absorbed systemically through the dermal microcirculation. Its non-invasive nature and suitability for patients who are unconscious or vomiting are two significant advantages.

Drug administration through vaginal/anal routes:

When compared to oral drug delivery, vaginal/anal drug delivery has a quicker onset of action and higher bioavailability. Rectal drugs may have local (e.g. laxative) or systemic (e.g. antibiotic) effects (e.g. analgesics when other routes are contraindicated). Drug administration via the vaginal canal avoids first-pass metabolism and is unaffected by gastrointestinal issues. The vaginal route is often used for hormone administration and to resolve women's health problems. Hydrogels, pills, pessaries, and suppositories are only a few of the vaginal formulation choices.

Final Thoughts:

Technological advancements and increased drug knowledge are two major factors that lead to the growth of pharmaceutical drug delivery systems. Furthermore, advantages such as the use of biological drugs, increased demand for efficient drug delivery systems, and a rise in the number of chronic diseases have resulted in a larger market for drug manufacturers.

Pharmaceutical Drug Delivery Market: 4.8% CAGR

Projected Revenue: 2213.4 billion from 2021 to 2027

For deeper dive check the full report here:

Published Date : March-2021