An evaluation of the adhesion of solid oral dosage form coatings to the oesophagus

John D. Smart, Sian Dunkley, John Tsibouklis, Simon Young

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There is a requirement for the development of oral dosage forms that are adhesive and allow extended oesophageal residence time for localised therapies, or are non-adhesive for ease of swallowing. This study provides an initial assessment of the in vitro oesophageal retention characteristics of several widely utilised pharmaceutical coating materials. To this end, a previously described apparatus has been used to measure the force required to pull a coated disc-shaped model tablet across a section of excised oesophageal tissue. Of the materials tested, the well-studied mucoadhesive polymer sodium alginate was found to be associated with significant oesophageal adhesion properties that was capable of ‘self-repairing’. Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose exhibited less pronounced bioadhesive behaviour and blending this with plasticiser or with low molecular weight polymers and surfactants did not significantly affect this. Low molecular weight water soluble polymers, were found to behave similarly to the uncoated glass control disc. Polysorbates exhibited bioadhesion behaviour that was majorly influenced by the nature of the surfactant. The insoluble polymer ethylcellulose, and the relatively lipophilic surfactant sorbitan monooleate were seen to move more readily than the uncoated disc, suggesting that these may have a role as ‘easy-to-swallow’ coatings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-303
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Oesophageal adhesion
  • Easy-to-swallow
  • Mucoadhesion
  • Non-adhesive coatings


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