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The present study was performed to design oral controlled delivery systems for the water-soluble drug, verapamil hydrochloride, using natural and semisynthetic polymers as carriers in the forms of 1- and 3-layer matrix tablets. Verapamil hydrochloride 1-layer matrix tablets containing hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, tragacanth, and acacia either alone or mixed were prepared by direct compression technique. 3-layer matrix tablets were prepared by compressing the polymers as release retardant layers on both sides of the core containing the drug. The prepared tablets were subjected to in vitro drug release studies. Tragacanth when used as the carrier in the formulation of 1- and 3-layer matrices produced satisfactory release prolongation either alone or in combination with the other 2 polymers. On the other hand, acacia did not show enough prolonging efficiency in 1- and 3-layer matrix tablets. The results also showed that the location of the polymers in the 3-layer tablets has a pronounced effect on the drug release. Kinetic analysis of drug release from matrices exhibiting sustained release indicated that release was predominantly attributable to the contribution made by Fickian diffusion, while the erosion/relaxation mechanisms had a minor role in the release.