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Publication date: 22 October 2012
Author(s): Mick Mantle, Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology, University of Cambridge

Applications of MRI to controlled drug delivery devices

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that is traditionally used as a diagnostic clinical imaging tool. However, there are now an increasing number of non-medial applications where MRI has seen unrivalled success. One of those areas is in its application to pharmaceutical research. The aim of this article is to briefly outline the quantitative nature of MRI and how it has been used recently to quantify dissolution phenomena in controlled drug delivery tablets under pharmacopeial conditions.

In modern pharmacotherapy, the effectiveness of a therapeutic treatment does not rely solely on the efficacy of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), but is also dependent upon a suitable dosage form or drug delivery device being available. In many ways, it is the drug delivery device itself that ensures the active drug is available at the site of action for the correct time and duration with appropriate drug concentration1. Drug delivery systems can be broadly divided into two categories according to their mechanisms of drug release: immediate release and modified release. Immediate release dosage forms, such as traditional painkillers, are relatively simple systems and are designed to release APIs instantaneously, i.e. when a fast therapeutic action is required. Modified release dosage forms, which are generally more suited to disease treatment, are generally designed to provide targeted / tailored drug release characteristics and a detailed knowledge of the spatio-temporal behaviour of the API is extremely important.

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