[en] Osteoarthritis is characterized by slow degenerative processes in the articular cartilage within synovial joints. It could be interesting to develop a sustained-release formulation that could be effective on both pain/inflammation and restoration of mechanical integrity of the joint. Recently, an injectable system based on glycerol monooleate (GMO), containing clonidine as a model hydrophilic analgesic/anti-inflammatory drug and hyaluronic acid as a viscoelastic scaffold, showed promising potential as a biodegradable and biocompatible preparation to sustain the drug activity. However, drug release from the system is relatively fast (complete within 1 week) and the underlying drug release mechanisms not fully understood. The aims of this study were: (i) to significantly improve this type of local controlled drug delivery system by further sustaining clonidine release, and (ii) to elucidate the underlying mass transport mechanisms. The addition of FDA-approved inactive ingredients such as sodium oleate or purified soybean oil was found to be highly effective. The release rate could be substantially reduced (e.g., 50% release after 10 days), due to the increased hydrophobicity of the systems, resulting in slower and reduced water uptake and reduced drug mobility. Interestingly, Fick's second law of diffusion could be used to quantitatively describe drug release.
Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM)