• Thermosensitive Injectable Pluronic Hydrogels for Controlled Drug Release: Characterisation of thermal, rheological and structural properties of injectable pharmaceutical formulations

      Kelly, Adrian L.; Gough, Timothy D.; Isreb, Mohammad; Shriky, Banah
      This study seeks to develop smart hydrogel formulations for injectable controlled drug delivery from Pluronics to enhance patients compliance, decrease side effects, reduce dose and frequency. A biocompatible copolymer, Pluronic F127 was probed as the main ingredient for the injectable systems owing its low gelation concentration and ease of modification the system properties through excipients addition. The matrix properties were studied through a series of thermal, rheological and structural (SAXS/SANS) experiments as a function of concentration and shear rate, covering both static and dynamic environments. It has shown that gelled viscosity (and structure) can be critically controlled by shear rate and the structures recorded do not match those predicted for sheared colloids. Two further Pluronics F68 and F108, were studied showing similar but shifted gelation properties to F127. Effects of additives were studied by introducing different Mw PEGs and a model hydrophobic drug ‘ibuprofen’ to a F127 20% formulation. PEGs addition effects on the system properties and gelation transition were largely dependent on the Mw used in the blend, which became more prominent with increasing chain length. Ibuprofen’s addition has resulted in reduced gelation temperature and smaller hard spheres without having a great effect on the system rheological properties compared to neat gels. Blends containing both additives PEG and ibuprofen exhibited a synergistic effect, where comparisons show that Ibuprofen had the largest effect on the blends lowering gelation boundaries and slightly increasing the size of the hard spheres indicating the necessity of full characterisation of the formulation with any API.