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The purpose of this paper was to study the effect of the isopropyl myristic acid ester (IPM) on the physicochemical characteristics of etoposide-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres-specifically, the effects on the size and drug loading of the microspheres, the polymer matrix and surface morphology, and the release of etoposide from the microspheres. The experiment was structured to examine 2 IPM concentrations (25% and 50%) and 1 control (no IPM) at 2 different etoposide-loading percentages (10% and 5%). The microspheres were prepared using a single-emulsion solvent-extraction procedure. Samples from each batch of microspheres were then analyzed for size distribution. drug-loading efficiency, surface characteristics, in vitro release, and in vitro microsphere degradation. The incorporation of 50% IPM significantly increased (P<05) the size of the microspheres when compared with the control and 25% IPM microspheres. However, incorporation of 25% or 50% IPM did not change (P>.05) the drug-loading efficiency in comparison with the microspheres prepared without IPM. The microspheres containing 50% IPM were shown to significantly increase (P<.05) the release of etoposide from the microspheres at both etoposide concentrations. The microspheres prepared incorporating 25% IPM and 5% etoposide increased the in vitro release (P<.05) in comparison with the microspheres prepared without IPM. The 5% etoposide-PLGA microspheres showed a smooth, nonporous surface that changed to a dimpled. nonporous surface after addition of 25% IPM. During the in vitro degradation study, the IPM-containing microspheres slowly became porous but retained their structural integrity throughout the experiment.