Gelucire: A versatile polymer for modified release drug delivery system
Poly ethylene glycol (PEG) ester surfactants are synthesized by reacting polyethylene glycol with fatty acid. The polyethylene glycol comprises the hydrophilic part of the surfactant and the fatty acid is the lipophilic part. By varying the molecular weight of the PEG and the fatty acid, surfactants covering wide range of hydrophilic lipophilic balance (HLB) values can be produced. Gelucire is the family of vehicle derived from mixtures of mono, di and triglycerides with PEG esters of fatty acids. These are available with range of properties depending on their HLB and melting point range (33–65 °C). They have a wide variety of application in oral and topical formulations. The applications of oral formulation include solubility and bioavailability enhancement, sustain drug release, taste masking and active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) protection from oxygen, light and humidity. The applications of topical formulations include stabilization of creams, lotions and gels, thickener, superior penetration of drug through skin. Gelucire containing only PEG esters are generally used in the preparation of fast release formulations. Gelucire containing only glycerides or a mixture of glycerides and PEG esters are used in the preparation of sustained release formulations. Owing to their extreme hydrophobicity and low density, are considered as appropriate carriers for designing sustained release drug delivery systems. In this review manuscript, applications of various grades of gelucire are compiled in the form of tables and discussed critically. A current literature on patents on gelucire based formulations was also discussed.