Dexamethasone loaded bioresorbable films used in medical support devices: Structure, degradation, crystallinity and drug release

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Bioresorbable polymer films containing dexamethasone (DM) were prepared using a solution processing technique. Investigation of the films focused on cumulative DM release as affected by film morphology (drug location/dispersion in the film) and degradation processes. Two film structures were studied: A-type, a polymer film with large drug crystals located on the film's surface, and B-type, a polymer film with small drug particles and crystals distributed within the bulk. The effect of the polymer's degree of crystallinity on the drug release profile was also studied. Prototypical applications of these films are biodegradable medical support devices which combine mechanical support with drug release. In most of our studied systems the drug release profile from the film is determined mainly by both drug location/dispersion in the film and the polymer's weight loss rate. All release profiles from A-type films exhibited a burst effect of approximately 30%, accompanied by a second release phase at a constant rate, whereas the release profiles from B-type films were determined mainly by the degradation profile of the host polymer, and did not exhibit any burst effect. A high degree of crystallinity is important for the current application, since good mechanical properties are required. This contributes to slower drug release rates, mainly at relatively low weight losses, whereas at high weight losses, where a porous structure is created, the crystallinity almost does not affect the rate of drug release. The shape of the porous structure that develops with degradation also affects the drug release profile from the B-type films.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-624
Number of pages10
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Bioresorbable films
  • Controlled drug delivery
  • Dexamethasone
  • Poly(lactic acid)


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