Amylose-ethylcellulose film coatings obtained from organic-based solvents were investigated as potential vehicles for colonic drug delivery. Amylose, in the form of an amylose-butan-1-ol dispersion, and ethylcellulose, dissolved in either ethyl lactate, ethanol, or propanol and plasticized with dibutyl sebacate, were mixed in various proportions and applied using a fluidized bed coater to achieve a range of film thicknesses on 5-aminosalicylic acid pellets. Drug release from the coated pellets was assessed under gastric and small intestinal conditions in the presence and absence of pepsin and pancreatin using dissolution methodology, and also within a simulated colonic environment involving fermentation testing with human feces in the form of a slurry. Under upper gastrointestinal tract conditions, the rate and extent of drug release were found to be related to the thickness of the coating and the ratio of amylose to ethylcellulose within the film. Modeling of the drug release data revealed that the ratio was more important than coat thickness in controlling drug release, irrespective of the solvent used for coating. Coatings with a thick film and/or low amylose content were relatively impermeable and able to delay drug release under conditions mimicking the upper gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, drug release was unaffected by the presence of pepsin and pancreatin and by long-term storage. Under simulated colonic conditions, drug release was more pronounced from coating formulations containing higher proportions of amylose. Colon-specificity can therefore be achieved using such systems by judicious choice of the appropriate ratio of amylose to ethylcellulose and coat thickness.
Keywords: Amylose, Colonic Drug Delivery, Ethylcellulose, Film Coatings, Organic Solvents