Drug Delivery Innovations to Address Global Health Challenges for Pediatric and Geriatric Populations (through improvements in patient compliance)
Despite significant advances in pharmaceutical and biotechnological drug discovery, the global population is plagued with many challenging diseases. These are further compounded by anticipated explosion in an ageing population, which presents several problems such as polypharmacy, dysphagia and neurological conditions, resulting in non-compliance and disease complications. For antibiotics, poor compliance, can result in development of drug resistant infections which can be fatal. Further, children, especially, in developing countries die unnecessarily from easily treatable diseases (e.g. malaria), due to poor compliance arising from bitter taste and inability to swallow currently available medication. Though, some of these challenges require the discovery of new drug compounds, a significant number can be resolved by employing pharmaceutics approaches to reduce the incidence of poor patient compliance. Such solutions are expected to make swallowing easier and reduce the need to swallow several solid medications, which is difficult for vulnerable pediatric and geriatric patients. This commentary will explore the current state of the art in the use of drug delivery innovations to overcome some of these challenges, taking cues from relevant regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drugs Administration, the European Medicines Agency, World Health Organization and the peer reviewed scientific and clinical literature.