The objective of this study is to select a multiple-unit sustained-release formulation and to compare it with both commercial immediate and single unit sustained-release capsules and also to determine whether an in vitro-in vivo correlation exists for single- and multiple- unit formulations. Indomethacin (20-60% w/w)-loaded, multiple-unit polystyrene microparticles were prepared by emulsion-solvent evaporation method from an aqueous system. The in vitro release profiles obtained in phosphate buffer of pH 6.8 for drug-loaded polystyrene microparticles and for commercial sustained-release capsules (Indocap-SR, 75 mg) were compared. As the microparticles with 50% indomethacin load showed a release profile comparable to that of the Indocap-SR release profile, the microparticles with this drug load was considered as optimized/selected formulation and, therefore, was subjected to stability study and in vivo study in human volunteers. In spite of significantly higher C(max), Ka, and Ke, and lower T(max), t1/2a, t1/2e and AUC(0 --> infinity)) values observed with commercial Microcid immediate-release capsules, there was no sign of difference among the listed parameters between optimized microparticles and Indocap-SR capsules. Indeed, the values of retard quotient (Rdelta) calculated from half-value duration analysis did not show any statistical difference, indicating the occurrence of an almost same degree of retardation of drug release from the optimized microparticles and the Indocap-SR capsules. Furthermore, linear relationship obtained between the percentages dissolved and absorbed suggests a means to predict in vivo absorption by measuring in vitro dissolution. The results suggest that the optimized polystyrene microparticles could provide an alternative controlled-release drug delivery system for indomethacin.
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