Background: This paper provides a critical review of biopolymer-based substrates,
especially the cellulose derivatives, for their application in buccal drug delivery. Drug delivery
to the buccal mucous has the benefits of immobile muscle, abundant vascularization and
rapid recovery, but not all the drugs can be administered through the buccal mucosa (e.g.,
macromolecular drugs), due to the low bioavailability caused by their large molecular size.
This shortfall inspired the rapid development of drug-compounding technologies and the corresponding
usage of biopolymer substrates.
Methods: Cellulose derivatives have been extensively developed for drug manufacturing to
facilitate its delivery. We engaged in structured research of cellulose-based drug compounding
technologies. We summarized the characteristic cellulose derivatives which have been
used as the biocompatible substrates in buccal delivery systems. The discussion of potential
use of the rapidly-developed nanocellulose (NC) is also notable in this paper.
Results: Seventy-eight papers were referenced in this perspective paper with the majority
(sixty-five) published later than 2010. Forty-seven papers defined the buccal drug delivery
systems and their substrates. Fifteen papers outlined the properties and applications of cellulose
derivatives. Nanocellulose was introduced as a leading edge of nanomaterial with sixteen
papers highlighted its adaptability in drug compounding for buccal delivery.
Conclusion: The findings of this perspective paper proposed the potential use of cellulose derivatives,
the typical kind of biopolymers, in the buccal drug delivery system for promoting
the bioavailability of macromolecular drugs. Nanocellulose (NC) in particular was proposed
as an innovative bio-binder/carrier for the controlled-release of drugs in buccal system.