Swelling and drug release behavior of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate/itaconic acid) copolymeric hydrogels obtained by gamma irradiation
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The new copolymeric hydrogels based on 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and itaconic acid (IA) were prepared by gamma irradiation, in order to examine the potential use of these hydrogels in controlled drug release systems. The influence of IA content in the gel on the swelling characteristics and the releasing behavior of hydrogels, and the effect of different drugs, theophylline (TPH) and fenethylline hydrochloride (FE), on the releasing behavior of P(HEMA/IA) matrix were investigated in vitro. The diffusion exponents for swelling and drug release indicate that the mechanisms of buffer uptake and drug release are governed by Fickian diffusion. The swelling kinetics and, therefore, the release rate depends on the matrix swelling degree. The drug release was faster for copolymeric hydrogels with a higher content of itaconic acid. Furthermore, the drug release for TPH as model drug was faster due to a smaller molecular size and a weaker interaction of the TPH molecules with(in) the P(...HEMA/IA) copolymeric networks. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.