The present study was carried out to develop and evaluate guar gum-based matrix tablets of rofecoxib for their intended use in the chemoprevention of colorectal cancer. Matrix tablets containing 40% (RXL-40), 50% (RXL-50), 60% (RXL-60) or 70% (RXL-70) of guar gum were prepared by wet granulation technique, and were subjected to in vitro drug release studies. Guar gum matrix tablets released only 5 to 12% of rofecoxib in the physiological environment of stomach and small intestine. The matrix tablets RXL-40 disintegrated completely within 10 h in a dissolution medium without rat caecal contents (control study), and hence not studied further. When the dissolution study was continued in simulated colonic fluids (rat caecal content medium), the matrix tablets RXL-50 were acted upon by colonic bacterial enzymes releasing the entire quantity of drug wherein there was no appreciable difference when compared to that released in control study. The matrix tablets RXL-60 released another 88% of rofecoxib whereas matrix tablets RXL-70 released only 57% of rofecoxib in simulated colonic fluids indicating the susceptibility of the guar gum formulations to the rat caecal contents. The guar gum matrix tablets RXL-70 were subjected to in vivo evaluation in human volunteers to find their ability of targeting rofecoxib to colon. The delayed Tmax, prolonged absorption time (ta), decreased Cmax and decreased ka indicated that rofecoxib was not released significantly in stomach and small intestine, but was delivered to colon resulting in a slow absorption of the drug and making it available for local action in human colon.
Keywords: rofecoxib, guar gum, matrix tablets, colonic drug delivery, evaluation
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