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Sustained-release liquisolid compact tablets containing artemether-lumefantrine as alternate-day regimen for malaria treatment to improve patient compliance

Authors Nnamani PO, Ugwu AA, Ibezim EC, Kenechukwu FC, Akpa PA, Ogbonna JD, Obitte NC, Odo AN, Windbergs M, Lehr CM, Attama AA

Received 20 July 2015

Accepted for publication 22 January 2016

Published 28 November 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 6365—6378


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster

Petra Obioma Nnamani,1,2 Agatha Adaora Ugwu,1 Emmanuel Chinedu Ibezim,1 Franklin Chimaobi Kenechukwu,1 Paul Achile Akpa,1 John-Dike Nwabueze Ogbonna,1 Nicholas Chinedu Obitte,3 Amelia Ngozi Odo,4 Maike Windbergs,2 Claus-Michael Lehr,2,5,6 Anthony Amaechi Attama1

1Drug Delivery and Nanomedicines Research Group, Department of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; 2Department of Drug Delivery, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany; 3Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Industrial Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 4Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; 5PharmBioTec GmbH, 6Department of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany

Abstract: The present study aimed to develop low-dose liquisolid tablets of two antimalarial drugs artemether–lumefantrine (AL) from a nanostructured lipid carrier (NLC) of lumefantrine (LUM) and estimate the potential of AL as an oral delivery system in malariogenic Wistar mice. LUM-NLCs were prepared by hot homogenization using Precirol® ATO 5/Transcutol® HP and tallow fat/Transcutol® HP optimized systems containing 3:1 ratios of the lipids, respectively, as the matrices. LUM-NLC characteristics, including morphology, particle size, zeta potential, encapsulation efficiency, yield, pH-dependent stability, and interaction studies, were investigated. Optimized LUM-NLCs were mixed with artemether powder and other dry ingredients and the resultant powder evaluated for micromeritics. Subsequent AL liquisolid tablets were tested for in vitro drug release and in vivo antiplasmodial activity in mice infected with Plasmodium berghei berghei (NK 65). Results showed that optimized LUM-NLC were stable, spherical, polydispersed but nanometric. Percentage yield and encapsulation efficiency were ~92% and 93% for Precirol® ATO 5/Transcutol® HP batch, then 81% and 95% for tallow fat/Transcutol® HP batch while LUM was amorphous in NLC matrix. In vitro AL release from liquisolid compacts revealed initial burst release and subsequent sustained release. Liquisolid tablet compacts formulated with Precirol® ATO 5/Transcutol® HP-AL4 achieved higher LUM release in simulated intestinal fluid (84.32%) than tallow fat/Transcutol® HP-BL3 (77.9%). Non-Fickian (anomalous) diffusion and super case II transport were the predominant mechanisms of drug release. Equal parasitemia reduction was observed for both batches of tablet compacts (~92%), superior to the reduction obtained with commercial antimalarial formulations: Coartem® tablets (86%) and chloroquine phosphate tablets (66%). No significant difference (P<0.05) in parasite reduction between double (4/24 mg/kg) and single (2/12 mg/kg) strength doses of AL compacts was observed. Our result highlights that AL could be formulated in much lower doses (4/24 mg/kg), for once-in-two days oral administration to improve patient compliance, which is currently not obtainable with conventional AL dosage forms.

Keywords: malaria, artemisinin-based combination therapy, antiplasmodial activity, liquisolid compacts, nanostructured lipid carriers

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