As with transdermal applications, there are limitations to delivering higher molecular weight (Mw) compounds through buccal mucosal tissue. This is because the buccal and sublingual membranes contain a stratified (multilayered) epithelium that demonstrates differentiation of various cell layers. This is different than the single epithelium cell layer lining of the (GI) tract, thereby resulting in less resistance to permeability. Several approaches can be taken to increase the permeation of a drug through the buccal mucosal membrane.
One of these approaches is to improve the bioadhesion properties to increase residence time and drug release of the device in the oral cavity.
Another approach is to modify the physiochemical properties of the drug, such as a drug’s partition coefficient.
A third approach, which is also used in transdermal drug delivery, is to employ the use of chemical permeation enhancers.
…The next generation of buccal product designs will evolve to include options for controlled release up to 12 to 24 hours. The general challenge for controlled-release applications is to design systems that slowly erode over time without becoming dislodged and swallowed as a result of normal activities, such as eating and drinking. Increased residence times of new buccal delivery devices may make it possible to deliver sensitive biological compounds that would otherwise be deactivated in the GI tract and thereby can only be dispensed currently through an injectable dose.
Product developers must be cognizant of an increased potential for irritation to occur for longer-wearing devices – some of these concerns can be addressed through proper mucoadhesion ingredient selection.
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