B210 Pharmacology

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B210 Pharmacology

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B210 Pharmacology

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Course Code: B210
University: Coventry University

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Country: United Kingdom

Write to discuss the use of polymers in pharmaceutical formulations.
Use Of Polymers In Pharmaceutical Formulations
What is polymers?
Application of natural based or synthetic both polymers have many application in biomedical and pharmaceutical industries. Polymers is a material which has a molecular arrangement primarily made up by the bonding of similar units. This similar units known as ‘Monomers’. Polymers plays a vital role in the formulation of the pharmaceuticals. The primary reason behind the use of polymer in pharmaceutical formulation is that provided the researchers with ample choice of chemical and physical characteristics.                                                         
Few interesting facts about polymers:
British air force used polymers as insulation for electrical parts of radar equipment in their planes during World War IITeflon, a polymer, were used to separate the uranium isotopes in atomic bombs.
Classification based on origin
Polymers can be commonly classified into six types based on their origin, molecular forces, structure, monomers present in the composition, polymerization mechanism, and polymerization. Here, only classification based on origin is provided. 
Natural polymers are those which are derived from natural sources like  starch, proteins. Synthetic polymers are artificially made up and have fiber as component such as Teflon, PVC.  Semi- Synthetic polymers are made up by chemical modification on naturally occurring polymers such as Vulcanized rubber.
The picture provided here is the chemical  structure of Poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide).
Characteristics of ideal polymer system
An ideal polymer system should have the characteristics mentioned on the slides. Easy administration will help the polymer system more consumer friendly. It has to be non-toxic, a consumer does not have any side effects. Inexpensive and easy fabrication and formulation will make pharmaceuticals inexpensive for the consumers. Polymer system has be environment friendly so that it does not deteriorate the environment much more than already as it is.  Strong mechanical strength is needed for a ideal polymer system so that the structure of the pharmaceuticals is durable through the entire manufacturing and mechanical process.
Polymers in pharmaceuticals formulations
The most common and widely usage of solid dosage form are tablets and capsules. Most common use of polymers in tablets are as binders and disintegrants. Binders work as an adhesive agents to bind the powder together and disintegrants are added to increase the surface area of the of the drug to release the drug easily and quickly into the system. Along with these, polymers like soft gelatin also used to manufacture the capsule shells.

Disperse system
A disperse system is a heterogeneous solution. Common type of disperse system includes ointments, creams, and suspensions. Particle size of the disperse system varies from 1 – 200 µm. 1µm for inhalation, 10 – 100 µm for ophthalmic application and 200 µm for oral use.  Polymers are used in the disperse system to enhance the clinical and physical stability of the system. 
Gel based
Gels have been primarily used in the medical industry due to their ability to absorb large amount of fluid such as for wound dressings, biocompatiable coatings and hydrophilic characteristics.. Hydrogels have extensive use in medical industry. Some polymers might need specific condition for gelation such as sodium alginate is used to form gel by reducing the pH or electrostatic interaction.  For another instance, Xanthan gum only forms thermo reversible gels at a concentration higher than 0.5 per cent.
Transdermal delivery system
This system is used for the delivery of therapeutic agents in controlled manner. This has various application like cessation of smoking, pain relief and treatment for heart disease. Silicones and acrylytes are used as adhesive layers. Additionally, this adhesive layer can be act as an drug reservoir for certain design. Most typical use of this polymeric layer is protection from external damage.
Q1. How are polymers used in solid base formulations of pharmaceuticals?

Polymers are used as binders and disintegrants.
During the wet granulation of powder, binders act as an adhesive to keep them together which helps the formation of tablet.
Disintegrants used in the tablet, so that it can help the disintegration of surface area of tablet for quick and fast release of the drug.

Q2. What are the uses of polymers in transdermal drug delivery system?

Polymeric layers used as a protective outer cover to protect the dosage from external damage.
Along with that the drug dosage might be released in the polymeric matrix.
Furthermore, polymers can be used in the adhesive layers of the patches.  


Frederiksen, K., Guy, R.H. And Petersson, K., 2015. Formulation considerations in the design of topical, polymeric film-forming systems for sustained drug delivery to the skin. European journal of pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics, 91, pp.9-15.
Jones, D., 2004. Pharmaceutical applications of polymers for drug delivery (vol. 15). Ismithers rapra publishing.
Rang, H.P., 2012. Rang & dale’s pharmacology: elsevier churchill livingstone.

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