The purpose of this study was to investigate physicochemical characteristics and in vitro release of zidovudine from monolithic film of Eudragit RL 100 and ethyl cellulose. Films included 2.5% or 5% (w/w) zidovudine of the dry polymer weight were prepared in various ratios of polymers by solvent evaporation method from methanol/acetone solvent mixture. The release studies were carried out by vertical Franz cells (2.2 cm2 area, 20 ml receptor fluid). Ex vivo studies were done on Wistar rat skin within the films F6 (Eudragit RL100) and F7 (Eudragit RL100/Ethylcellulose, 1:1) consisting 5% (w/w) zidovudine in comparison with the same amount of free drug. Either iontophoresis (0.1 and 0.5 mA/cm2 direct currents, Ag/AgCl electrodes) or dimethyl sulfoxide (pretreatment of 1% and 5%, w/w, solutions) were used as enhancers. Films consisting of ethyl cellulose under the ratio of 50% (w/w) gave similar release profiles, and the highest in vitro cumulative released amount was achieved with F6 film which gave the closest results with the free drug. This result could be due to the high swelling capacity and re-crystallization inhibition effect of RL 100 polymer which also influenced the film homogenization. All the films were fitted to Higuchi release kinetics. It was also observed that both 0.5-mA/cm2 current and 5% (w/w) dimethyl sulfoxide applications significantly increased the cumulative permeated amount of zidovudine after 8 h; however, the flux enhancement ratio was higher for 0.5-mA/cm2 current application, especially within F6 film. Thus, it was concluded that Eudragit RL100 film (F6) could be further evaluated for the transdermal application of zidovudine.
Key words: dimethyl sulfoxide, ethyl cellulose, Eudragit RL100, iontophoresis, transdermal delivery, zidovudine