Supercritical fluid-assisted preparation of imprinted contact lenses for drug delivery

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The aim of this work was to develop an innovative supercritical fluid (SCF)-assisted molecular imprinting method to endow commercial soft contact lenses (SCLs) with the ability to load specific drugs and to control their release. This approach seeks to overcome the limitation of the common loading of preformed SCLs by immersion in concentrated drug solutions (only valid for highly water soluble drugs) and of the molecular imprinting methods that require choice of the drug before polymerization and thus to create drug-tailored networks. In particular, we focused on improving the flurbiprofen load/release capacity of daily wear Hilafilcon B commercial SCLs by the use of sequential SCF flurbiprofen impregnation and extraction steps. Supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO(2)) impregnation assays were performed at 12.0 MPa and 40 degrees C, while scCO(2) extractions were performed at 20.0 MPa and 40 degrees C. Conventional flurbiprofen sorption and drug removal experiments in aqueous solutions were carried out for comparison purposes. SCF-processed SCLs showed a recognition ability and a higher affinity for flurbiprofen in aqueous solution than for the structurally related ibuprofen and dexamethasone, which suggests the creation of molecularly imprinted cavities driven by both physical (swelling/plasticization) and chemical (carbonyl groups in the network with the C-F group in the drug) interactions. Processing with scCO(2) did not alter some of the critical functional properties of SCLs (glass transition temperature, transmittance, oxygen permeability, contact angle), enabled the control of drug loaded/released amounts (by the application of several consecutive processing cycles) and permitted the preparation of hydrophobic drug-based therapeutic SCLs in much shorter process times than those using conventional aqueous-based molecular imprinting methods.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)1019-1030
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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