Several problems and limitations faced in the treatment of many diseases can be overcome by using controlled drug delivery systems (DDS), where the active compound is transported to the target site, minimizing undesirable side effects. In situ-forming hydrogels that can be injected as viscous liquids and jellify under physiological conditions and biocompatible clay nanoparticles have been used in DDS development. In this work, polymer–clay composites based on Pluronics (F127 and F68) and nanoclays were developed, aiming at a biocompatible and injectable system for long-term controlled delivery of methylene blue (MB) as a model drug. MB release from the systems produced was carried out at 37◦C in a pH 7.4 medium. The Pluronic formulation selected (F127/F68 18/2 wt.%) displayed a sol/gel transition at approx. 30◦C, needing a 2.5 N force to be injected at 25◦C. The addition of 2 wt.% of Na116 clay decreased the sol/gel transition to 28◦C and significantly enhanced its viscoelastic modulus. The most suitable DDS for long-term application was the Na116-MB hybrid from which, after 15 days, only 3% of the encapsulated MB was released. The system developed in this work proved to be injectable, with a long-term drug delivery profile up to 45 days.
- Injectable hydrogels
- Long-term drug delivery