Top 5 Biodegradable Polymers for Drug Delivery

by | Jul 9, 2020

Biodegradable polymers are often used in drug delivery applications because of their biocompatibility. They can be used as binders in tablets and they work as flow controlling agents in liquids, suspensions, and emulsions.

In addition, they can be used for controlled release and targeting drug delivery systems. They have many useful applications in the field of drug delivery.

What Is Drug Delivery Technology?

Drugs are used to improve people’s health and extend their lives. Drug delivery is the method of getting the drug into a person’s body to help him or her fight an illness. Biomedical engineers have helped scientists understand the physiological barriers in the way of drug delivery, such as how drugs move through cells and tissues, the circulatory system, and more.

The key is to find the best possible way to deliver the drug with the fewest side effects. It is ideal to avoid having the drug interact with healthy tissues and to target those that are unhealthy. Drug delivery technology includes agents designed to control the release of a drug or to target specific organs, cells, tissues, and more.

Drug Delivery Methods

How well a drug can do its job is impacted by how it is delivered. Drugs can be introduced to the body in a number of different ways through different drug delivery methods. These methods include the following:

  • Buccal drug delivery: through the lining of the cheek
  • Nasal drug delivery: through the nasal cavity
  • Ocular drug delivery: through the eye
  • Oral drug delivery: through the mouth
  • Pulmonary drug delivery: inhaled through the mouth into the airways
  • Sublingual drug delivery: absorbed under the tongue into the bloodstream
  • Transdermal drug delivery: application to intact skin
  • Vaginal/anal drug delivery: through the vagina or anus
  • Targeted drug delivery: concentrated delivery of drug to its target

Biodegradable polymers help with targeted drug delivery as well as controlled drug release.

Drug Delivery Impact Factors

There are barriers that need to be researched so that drugs can be more effective in their delivery to specific targets. For example, scientists are studying the blood-brain barrier in brain diseases and disorders. They want to deliver drugs to the brain and prevent harmful substances from entering the brain.

They are also looking at intracellular delivery so that cells that protect the body from a drug will no longer inhibit its ability to reach a target. Scientists are constantly researching new methods to improve delivery of drugs.

What Are the Benefits of Using These Materials

There are many benefits to using biodegradable polymers. They are eco-friendly and have reduced carbon emissions. They also require less fossil fuel consumption for their production, which helps to reduce pollution. They are also made with recyclable material.

Biodegradable materials can be used in drug delivery and the benefit is that they break down over time. They can offer temporary support. In addition, there is no need for future surgical removal. They can be made into different shapes with different rates of degradation.

Biodegradable polymers can assist in drug delivery systems in ways that were not possible before. These systems are able to overcome the limitations offered by traditional drug delivery methods to target specific parts of the body. The solution is more effective and allows local delivery and less frequent doses.

Favorable Materials Used in Drug Delivery

Different biodegradable polymers have proven to be effective as part of a drug delivery system. When they have a hydrophobic nature, they are effectively able to carry and deliver drugs to targeted areas or through controlled release. Take a look at these materials that are favored for use in drug delivery:

1. PLLA

PLLA is poly l-lactide acid and it is a biodegradable polymer that can be used in drug delivery. It is biocompatible and biodegradable by hydrolysis and enzymatic activity. It is also FDA-approved and known to be a viable solution for drug delivery. It can carry nanoparticles such as liposomes, polymeric nanoparticles, dendrimers, and micelles. It can also encapsulate toxic anti-tumor drugs and stay away from systemic toxicities.

2. PDLLA

PDLLA is poly d- l- lactide acid, and it is a biodegradable polymer that is obtained from the DL lactide. It has a different structure and it is amorphous because it has randomly repeating L-lactide and D-lactide units. It works well as a coating and it degrades faster than other polymer blends. It has a slower release of drugs from the nanoparticles, which helps to avoid overdosing.

3. PLGA

PLGA is an acronym used to describe poly D L-lactic co-glycolic acid. It is obtained by the ring opening co-polymerization of glycolide and lactide as monomers. It is considered one of the best-defined biomaterials available for drug delivery in terms of design and performance. It can be used to deliver nanoparticles in cancer treatments through tumor-targeted drug therapy. In addition, it is used for therapeutic agents, including the following:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Antibiotics
  • Antiseptics
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Antioxidant drugs
  • Proteins
  • And more

4. PCL

PCL is known as polycaprolactone and it is a biodegradable polyester with a low melting point. It is developed as a controlled drug delivery vehicle for vancomycin and it helps to avoid a second surgery. When this drug is loaded into PCL, it is able to keep its composition as a pure drug. It is also used for drug release and theranostic NP delivery.

5. PTMC

PTMC is an acronym for poly trimethylene carbonate. They can deliver microparticles, nanospheres, and micellar nanoparticles effectively loaded with drugs. For example, dexamethasone could be released over a period of between 14 and 60 days. This polymer is biodegradable and it can be used for hydrophilic drugs. They have a flexible and hydrophobic nature, which makes them effective.