Microencapsulation: A Vital Technique in Novel Drug Delivery System

Novel drug delivery systems have several advantages over conventional multi dose therapy. Much research effort in developing novel drug delivery system has been focused on controlled release and sustained release dosage forms. Now considerable efforts are being made to deliver the drug in such a manner so as to get optimum benefits. There are various approaches in delivering a therapeutic substance to the target site in a sustained controlled release fashion. One such approach is using microspheres as carriers for drugs.

Microencapsulation is a process where by small discrete solid particles or small liquid droplets are surroundedand enclosed by an intact shell. Microencapsulation is used to modify and delayed drug release form pharmaceutical dosage forms. A well designed controlled drug delivery system can overcome some of the problems of conventional therapy and enhance the therapeutic efficacy of a particular drug. It is the reliablemeans to deliver the drug to the target site with specificity, if modified, and to maintain the desired concentration at the site of interest without untoward effects. Microspheres  received much attention not only for prolonged release, but also for targeting of anticancer drugs to the tumor. The intent of the paper is to highlight the potential of microencapsulation technique as a vital technique in novel drug delivery.

The Reasons For Microencapsulation


The reasons for microencapsulation areIn some countless cases, the core must beisolated from its surroundings, as in vitamins from the deterioratina volatile core, improving the handling of a sticky material, or isolatin core from chemical a attack. In the core completely but to control the rate at which it leaves the microcapsule, as in the controlled release of drugs or pesticides. The problem may be as simple as masking the taste or odor of the core, or as complex as increasing the selectivity of an adsorption or extraction process.

Fundamental Considerations


The realization of the potential that microencapsulation offers involves a basic understanding of the general properties of microcapsules, such as the nature of the core and coating materials, the stability and release characteristics of the coated materials and the microencapsulation methods.

Core Material

The core material, defined as the specific material to be coated, can be liquid or solid in nature. The composition of the core material can be varied as the liquid core can include dispersed and/or dissolved material. The solid core can be mixture of active constituents, stabilizers, diluents, excipients and release-rate retardants or accelerators. The ability to vary the core materials composition provides definite flexibility and utilization of this characteristic often allows effectual design and development of the desired microcapsules properties.

Coating Material

The selection of appropriate coating material decides the physical and chemical properties of the resultant microcapsules/microspheres. While selecting a polymer the product requirements ie. stabilization, reduced volatility, release characteristics, environmental conditions, etc. should be taken into consideration. The polymer should be capable of forming a film that is cohesive with the core material. It should be chemically compatible, non-reactive with the core material and provide the desired coating properties such as strength, flexibility, impermeability, optical properties and stability. Generally hydrophilic polymers, hydrophobic polymers (or) a combination both are used for the microencapsulation process. A number of coating materials gelatin have been used successfully; examples of these include polyvinyl alcohol, ethyl cellulose, cellulose acetate phthalate and styrene maleic anhydride. The film thickness can be varied considerably depending on the surface area of the material to be coated and other physical characteristics of the system. The microcapsules may consist of a single particle or clusters of particles.After isolation from the liquid manufacturing vehicle and drying, the material appears as a free flowing powder. The powder is suitable for formulation as compressed tablets, hard gelatin capsules, suspensions, and other dosage forms.

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