It isn’t just children who can have trouble swallowing pills. Some adults find it difficult too, for example, adults who have suffered a stroke and need certain medications.
Researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital developed a drug-delivering gel that is easier to swallow and can administer a variety of different kinds of drugs.
The gels are made from plant-based oils like sesame oil and can be adapted to a variety of textures. The gels are also stable and don’t need refrigeration, so they can be used by children and adult patients in developing nations.
“This platform will change our capacity for what we can do for kids, and also for adults who have difficulty receiving medication. Given the simplicity of the system and its low cost, it could have a tremendous impact on making it easier for patients to take medications,” says Giovanni Traverso, the senior author of the study.
Traverso and his team demonstrated that this gel could deliver several types of medications, including ones to treat infectious diseases. They had successful tests with animals and are now planning clinical trials.
Easy medication delivery in difficult areas
In development, the team wanted to create a medication-delivery system that didn’t require drinking water, considering developing areas where that might be scarce. They also wanted it to be inexpensive and resistant to extreme temperatures. This led them to use oil-based gels. Testing which oils were most palatable, from beeswax to rice bran wax, they developed a variety of textures to suit tastes and needs.
The first three drugs the team tested their gels on were meant to treat parasitic infections, malaria, and bacterial infections. Not only were they successful with these, but they found they could pretty much put any medication in the gel. Since the gels are very resistant to temperature, the team went a step further. They made a delivery system much like a child’s yogurt squeeze tube, making it even easier for children and adults to take important medications when drinking water is scarce.
Source Study: MIT News — New gels could help the medicine go down | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology