Tenofovir Hot-Melt Granulation using Gelucire® to Develop Sustained-Release Vaginal Systems for Weekly Protection against Sexual Transmission of HIV

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Hot-melt granulation is a technique used to obtain granules by dispersing a drug in polymers at a high temperature. Tenofovir, an antiretroviral drug with proven activity as a vaginal microbicide, was dispersed in melted Gelucire® (or a mixture of different Gelucire®) to obtain drug-loaded granules. Studies performed on the granules proved that the drug is not altered in the hot-melt granulation process. The granules obtained were included in a matrix formed by the hydrophilic polymers hydroxypropylmethylcellulose and chitosan to obtain vaginal tablets that combine different mechanisms of controlled release: The Gelucire® needs to soften to allow the release of the Tenofovir, and the hydrophilic polymers must form a gel so the drug can diffuse through it. The studies performed with the tablets were swelling behavior, Tenofovir release, and ex vivo mucoadhesion. The tablets containing granules obtained with Tenofovir and Gelucire® 43/01 in a ratio of 1:2 in a matrix formed by hydroxypropylmethylcellulose and chitosan in a ratio of 1.9:1 were selected as the optimal formulation, since they release Tenofovir in a sustained manner over 216h and remain attached to the vaginal mucosa throughout. A weekly administration of these tablets would therefore offer women protection against the sexual transmission of HIV.
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