Formulation, Characterization and In Vitro Evaluation of Mesalamine and Bifidobacterium bifidum Loaded Hydrogel Beads in Capsule System for Colon Targeted Delivery

Mesalamine is a first-line drug for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. However, its premature release associated with marketed formulations leads to adverse effects like gastric trouble, vomiting, and diarrhoea. To minimize these side effects, colon-targeted drug delivery is essential. Besides conventional pharmacotherapy, bifidogenic probiotics with anti-inflammatory activity has been reported to elicit a significant impact on the remission of ulcerative colitis. Bifidogenic probiotics being acid-labile necessitate developing a gastro-resistant formulation for enhancing the delivery of viable cells to the colon.

The present study was aimed at developing a fixed-dose unit dosage form of mucoadhesive hydrogel beads loaded with mesalamine and Bifidobacterium bifidum further encapsulated in Eudragit® capsules for the targeted drug delivery at colonic pH. The hydrogel beads were prepared by ionotropic gelation, with the effect of single and dual-crosslinking approaches on various formulation characteristics studied. Standard size 00 Eudragit® gastro-resistant capsules were prepared and the dried beads were filled inside the capsule shells. The formulation was then evaluated for various parameters, including physicochemical characterization, in vitro biocompatibility and anti-inflammatory activity.

No interaction was observed between the drug and the polymers, as confirmed through FTIR, XRD, and DSC analysis. The mean particle size of the beads was ~ 457–485 µm. The optimized formulation showed a drug entrapment efficiency of 95.4 ± 2.58%. The Eudragit® capsule shells disintegrated in approximately 13 min at pH 7.4. The mucoadhesive hydrogel beads sustained the drug release above 18 h, with 50% of the drug released by the end of 12 h. The optimized formulation demonstrated significant (p < 0.05) gastro-resistance, biocompatibility, sustained drug release, cell viability, and anti-inflammatory activity.

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Singh, J., Sharma, M., Singh, H. et al. Formulation, Characterization and In Vitro Evaluation of Mesalamine and Bifidobacterium bifidum Loaded Hydrogel Beads in Capsule System for Colon Targeted Delivery. AAPS PharmSciTech 25, 61 (2024).

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