Effect of mean diameter and polydispersity of PLG microspheres on drug release: experiment and theory. Academic Article uri icon


  • The need to tailor release rate profiles from polymeric microspheres is a significant problem. Microsphere size, which has a significant effect on drug release rate, can potentially be varied to design a controlled drug delivery system with desired release profile. In this work the effects of microspheres mean diameter, polydispersity, and polymer degradation on drug release rate from poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG) microspheres are described. Piroxicam containing PLG microspheres were fabricated at 20% loading, and at three different impeller speeds. A portion of the microspheres was then sieved giving five different size distributions. In vitro release kinetics were determined for each preparation. Based on these experimental results, a suitable mathematical theory has been developed that incorporates the effect of microsphere size distribution and polymer degradation on drug release. We show from in vitro release experiments that microsphere size has a significant effect on drug release rate. The initial release rate decreased with an increase in microsphere size. In addition, the release profile changed from first order to concave-upward (sigmoidal) as the microsphere size was increased. The mathematical model gave a good fit to the experimental release data. For highly polydisperse populations (polydispersity parameter b<3), incorporating the microsphere size distribution into the mathematical model gave a better fit to the experimental results than using the representative mean diameter. The validated mathematical model can be used to predict small-molecule drug release from PLG microsphere populations.

published proceedings

  • Int J Pharm

author list (cited authors)

  • Berchane, N. S., Carson, K. H., Rice-Ficht, A. C., & Andrews, M. J.

citation count

  • 65

complete list of authors

  • Berchane, NS||Carson, KH||Rice-Ficht, AC||Andrews, MJ

publication date

  • June 2007