Constrained crystallization and depletion in the polymer medium for transdermal drug delivery system
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Transdermal drug delivery systems (TDS) are pharmaceutical devices that are designed to deliver specific drugs to the human body by diffusion through skin. The TDS effectiveness suffers from crystallization in the patch when they are kept in storage for more than two years. It has been reported that there are two types of crystals in the patch: needle and aggregate, and growth of drug crystals in TDS generally occurs only in the middle third of the polymer layer. In our study, fluorescence microscopy, EDS (SEM) and Raman microspectroscopy were used to further characterize the crystals. The results show that the needle crystals most probably contain estradiol and acrylic resin conjugate. The FTIR spectrum of the model sample proved the occurrence of a reaction between estradiol and acrylic resin. Crystal growth in an unstressed matrix of a dissolved crystallizable drug component was simulated using a kinetic Monte Carlo model. Simulation using Potts model with proper boundary condition gives the crystals in the middle of matrix in the higher temperature. Bond fluctuation model is also being implemented to study representative dense TDS polymer matrix. This model can account for the size effect of polymer chain on the crystal growth. The drug release profile from TDS was also studied by simulating the diffusion of drug molecules using Monte Carlo techniques for different initial TDS microstructure. The release rate and profile of TDS depend on the dissolution process of the crystal. At low storage temperature, the grains are evenly distributed throughout the thickness of the TDS patch, thus the release rate and profile is similar to the randomly initiated system. Further work on stress induced crystallization is currently under development. Although the study was specifically done for drug in a polymer medium, the techniques developed in this investigation is in general applicable to any constrained crystallization in a polymer medium.