Journal of pharmaceutical sciences

Release behavior of tanshinone IIA sustained-release pellets based on crack formation theory.

PMID 22610467


The objective of this study was to investigate the drug release mechanism and in vivo performance of Tanshinone IIA sustained-release pellets, coated with blends of polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) and poly(vinyl alcohol)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PVA-PEG) graft copolymer. A formulation screening study showed that pellets coated with PVAc-PVA-PEG at a ratio of 70:30 (w/w) succeeded in achieving a 24 h sustained release, irrespective of the coating weight (from 2% to 10%). Both the microscopic observation and mathematical model gave further insight into the underlying release mechanism, indicating that diffusion through water-filled cracks was dominant for the control of drug release. In vivo test showed that the maximum plasma concentration of sustained-release pellets was decreased from 82.13 ± 17.05 to 40.50 ± 11.72 ng mL as that of quick-release pellets. The time of maximum concentration, half time, and mean residence time were all prolonged from 3.80 ± 0.40 to 8.02 ± 0.81 h, 4.28 ± 1.21 to 8.18 ± 2.06 h, and 8.60 ± 1.59 to 17.50 ± 2.78 h, compared with uncoated preparations. A good in vitro-in vivo correlation was characterized by a high coefficient of determination (r = 0.9772). In conclusion, pellets coated with PVAc-PVA-PEG could achieve a satisfactory sustained-release behavior based on crack formation theory.