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This investigation synthesized and characterized hydroxyapatite (HAP) microspheres, agglomerated microspheres, and implants containing ciprofloxacin. This delivery system is to be used as an implantable drug delivery system for the treatment of bone infections. The HAP microspheres were made by chemical precipitation followed by a spray-drying technique. Agglomerated microspheres were prepared by a wet granulation process using a granulator. Implants were prepared by direct compression of the granules on a Carver press. Ciprofloxacin was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Characterization of the HAP microspheres include particle size, size distribution, physical state of the drug in the microsphere, and microstructure of the drug delivery system before and after in vitro release. The particle size, porosity, and morphology of the microspheres were dependent on viscosity and concentration of the slurry as well as the atomization pressure used during spray drying. Even at the highest drug load (2% wt/wt), the drug was present in a noncrystalline state. The drug release from the agglomerated microspheres was quick and almost complete within 1 hour. However, compressing the same amount of agglomerated microspheres into an implant greatly reduced the rate of ciprofloxacin release. Only 12% (wt/wt) of the drug was released from the implant within 1 hour.
The in vitro release of ciprofloxacin from these implants follows a diffusion-controlled mechanism. This method provides a unique way of producing various shapes and drug loads of HAP microspheres that can be easily manufactured on a commercial scale.