The aim of the current study was to develop osmotically controlled release system of freely water soluble drug phenylephrine hydrochloride by use of asymmetric membrane capsules to reduce the dosing frequency and consequently improve the patient compliance. Ethyl cellulose asymmetric membrane capsules were developed by phase inversion process and solubility modulation was accomplished by common ion effect wherein sodium chloride was included in the formulation that also served as an osmogen. The effect of formulation variables namely level of polymer (ethyl cellulose), level of pore former (glycerol) and level of osmogen (sodium chloride) on the in vitro release of the drug was evaluated by 23 factorial design. Effects of environmental factors on the release rate of the drug from asymmetric membrane capsules were also evaluated. Membrane characterization by scanning electron microscopy showed an outer dense region with less pores and inner porous region for the prepared asymmetric membrane. The dimensional analysis of asymmetric membrane capsule documented the capsules to be of uniform cap and body size comparable to commercial hard gelatin capsules. In vitro release studies results showed that incorporation of higher amount of osmogen not only increased the osmotic pressure but also controlled the drug release for a period of 12 hr. The drug release was inversely proportional to the level of polymer in asymmetric membrane capsule but directly related to the level of pore former in the membrane. The optimized asymmetric membrane capsule (F5) was able to provide zero order release of phenylephrine hydrochloride independent of agitation rate, intentional defect in the membrane and pH of dissolution medium but was dependent on the osmotic pressure gradient between inside and outside of the delivery system.
Keywords: Asymmetric membrane capsule, phase inverted capsule, controlled drug delivery, osmotically regulated system, invitro drug delivery of phenylephrine hydrochloride, highly water soluble drug, extra design chek point method, statistical analysis of asymmetric membrane, solubility modulation, osmogens
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