The controlled delivery of drugs can be effectively obtained using systems based on hydrogels. Tablets, to be orally administered, represent the simplest and the most traditional dosage systems based on hydrogel. Their formulation and preparation require to mix and to compress, in proper ratios, various excipients, including a swellable polymer and a drug. Carriers for controlled release systems are usually cross-linked polymers able to form hydrogels that show peculiar release mechanisms, where both diffusion and tablet swelling play important roles.
Part of the book: Smart Drug Delivery System
In this chapter, the modern uses of hydrogels in pharmaceutical and biomedical applications are revised following an engineering point of view, i.e. focusing the attention on material properties and process conditions. The chapter discusses the applications following the increase in scale‐size. First, the nanoscale systems, i.e. hydrogel nanoparticles (HNPs), are analysed in terms of preparative approaches (polymerization methods and uses of preformed polymers) and with a brief mention of the future trends in the field. Secondly, systems based on hydrogel microparticles (HMPs) are examined following the same scheme (polymerization methods, uses of preformed polymers, a mention of novel and future trends). Thirdly, and last but not the least, the hydrogel‐based drug delivery systems (macroscopic HB‐DDSs) are presented, focusing in particular on tablets made of hydrogels, discussing the characterization methods and on the modelling approaches used to describe their behaviour. Other macroscopic systems are also discussed in brief. Even if the vastness of the field makes its discussion impossible in a single chapter, the presented material can be a good starting point to study the uses of hydrogels in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences.
Part of the book: Emerging Concepts in Analysis and Applications of Hydrogels