Modern medications are about much, much more than just their active ingredients: special excipients turn tablets and capsules into smart transport systems. In order to keep the active agent from losing its way as it travels through the body, Evonik polymer chemists have developed a travel companion to protect it: an ultrathin casing called EUDRAGIT®. This pharmaceutical polymer has been designed to release the active ingredient only where it is needed. Its arrival time is determined by local pH values, so that the medication will only be released when it is in either the stomach, the small intestine, or not until it reaches the large intestine.
The location where it is released is not the only factor in a medicine’s effect—the duration of release is important too. Ideally, a patient should only have to swallow one tablet per day, but for that to be the case, the effects of the active ingredient need to remain uniform for hours. Known as retard release formulations, these preparations are particularly suitable for medications such as pain killers or beta blockers for treating high blood pressure. By strategically combining the various polymers that make up the coating, developers can find the optimum release rate for keeping the effect in the body constant over a defined period.
Encapsulation has yet another advantage for many medications: it protects them from moisture and conceals the taste and odor of the active ingredients. Medicine doesn’t have to taste bitter to be effective.
Thanks to RESOMER® polymers, actives can also be released uniformly over the course of days, weeks, or months. As a rod implant or injected under the skin as a depot formulation, these polymers provide tremendous relief for people with illnesses—especially chronic diseases—who would otherwise have to take a daily injection. Based on lactic acid, these biodegradable polymers simply dissolve naturally in the body.
As the manufacturer of EUDRAGIT® and RESOMER® pharmaceutical polymers, the Health Care Business Line is a leading developer and producer of functional pharmaceutical excipients for oral administration and parenteral depot formulations. The polymers are produced at the Birmingham (USA) and Darmstadt (Germany) sites.