Smart Hydrogels for Pharmaceutical Applications

Smart Hydrogels for Pharmaceutical Applications

Snežana S. Ilić-Stojanović (University of Nis, Serbia), Ljubiša B. Nikolić (University of Nis, Serbia), Vesna D. Nikolić (University of Nis, Serbia) and Slobodan D. Petrović (University of Belgrade, Serbia)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0751-2.ch011
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Abstract

The latest development in the field of smart hydrogels application as drugs carriers is shown in this chapter. Hydrogels are three-dimensional polymer network consisting of at least one hydrophilic monomer. They are insoluble in water, but in the excess presence of water or physiological fluids, swell to the equilibrium state. The amount of absorbed water depends on the chemical composition and the crosslinking degree of 3D hydrogel network and reaches over 1000% of the xerogel weight. Stimuli-responsive hydrogels exhibit significant change of their properties (swelling, color, transparency, conductivity, shape) due to small changes in the external environment conditions (pH, ionic strength, temperature, light wavelength, magnetic or electric fields, ultrasound, or a combination thereof). This smart hydrogels, with different physical and chemical properties, chemical structure and technology of obtaining, show great potential for application in the pharmaceutical industry. The application of smart hydrogels is very promising and at the beginning of the development and exploitation.
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Introduction

A short overview of the development and current state-of-art relating to the implementation of “smart” gels as carriers of pharmaceuticals in systems for modified/controlled drug release is presented in this chapter. In today's rapid technology expansion, there is an ever-growing trend for a new generation of “smart” materials. They have the advantage of being less limited by design constraints. One such category of these intelligent materials is “smart” or stimuli-responsive polymers. Researches in this chapter were focused on:

  • Different ways of synthesis and characterization of stimuli-responsive hydrogels,

  • Analysis by the type of stimuli they respond to, and

  • Implementation of systems for the controlled delivery of drugs (chemically controlled systems, diffusion controlled systems, systems controlled by the swelling and systems for modulated release) (Milić & Petrović, 2003).

Smart hydrogels with different physical and chemical properties, chemical structure and obtainable technology show great potential for application in the pharmaceutical industry. The aim of this chapter is to provide the latest trend and idea for further research opportunities in the field of smart hydrogels application as drugs carriers. Also, it could be the basis for the synthesis of new smart materials and for their new applications.

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