New methods to predict release and absorption of orally administered drugs


Friday 15 January at 09.15 Caroline Alvebratt, PhD student at the Department of Pharmacy, will defend her dissertation with focus on new methods to predict the release and absorption of orally administered drugs. Welcome to participate online via Zoom.

Caroline Alvebratt, Uppsala University
Caroline Alvebratt, Uppsala University

With oral drug intake via tablets and capsules, the patient avoids unpleasant needle sticks and does not need the help of healthcare professionals to take the drug. However, the gastrointestinal tract is a complex environment for many drug substances, and in her dissertation Advanced Methods for Evaluation of the Performance of Complex Drug Delivery System, Caroline Alvebratt, PhD student at Uppsala University’s Department of Pharmacy, presents new methods to predict how drug formulations will work in the body.

“Only individual molecules can get through the intestinal membrane into the blood, so for orally administered drugs to reach their goal, they must be dissolved in the intestine. Unfortunately, many drugs have low solubility in intestinal fluid, they also undergo presystemic metabolism in the liver. Thus, larger doses of the drug must be taken in order to reach the target sufficiently, but with larger doses, the risk of side effects also increases,” says Caroline Alvebratt.

To deal with low solubility, research is conducted on the development of new drug formulations. One strategy is to break down the crystalline structure of the molecules and create amorphous systems. Another strategy is to use fats and oils in which the drug dissolves and thereby avoid the dissolution step in the intestine.

“Both strategies are surrounded by challenges, so I have developed methods to test in the laboratory how the drug formulations will behave in the body. In my dissertation we present a method to analyse the release of various drugs after they have been made amorphous. We also investigate whether mesoporous magnesium carbonate can be used for the absorption of fats, as well as the stability of the lipid-loaded carriers, and here we have observed changes in the composition of the fats when storing the formulations.”

In one study, the release and uptake of drugs from more complex formulations are analyzed simultaneously. Previous research shows how both release and absorption are closely linked in the intestines, which must be considered in in vitro studies. Here, two separate methods are used with the capacity to mimic both the donor side, the intestine, and the recipient side, the blood.

“We studied several different formulation strategies in the same experimental set, and noted the importance of methods that take into account both release and absorption. My work adds knowledge and methods for studies of complex drug preparations. Hopefully, the results can be integrated in laboratories and contribute to better predictions and understanding of how oral preparations work in the body,” says Caroline Alvebratt.




Caroline Alvebratt, Uppsala University
Department of Pharmacy

text: Magnus Alsne, photo: private

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Last modified: 2022-11-16