Controlled release of etoricoxib from poly(ester urea) patch
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Medical prescriptions for the alleviation of post-surgical pain are the most abundant source of opioids in circulation. As a systemic drug delivery source, opioids leave patients at high risk for side effects after being dosed. A team of scientists developed a biocompatible patch that releases non-opioid pain killers (etoricoxib) at the surgical site.

Given the significant rate of unauthorized use, distribution, addiction, and opioid-related deaths, an alternative method of post-surgical analgesia is needed. Herein, scientists report the use of bio-resorbable poly(ester urea) (PEU) films that controllably deliver a non-opioid COX-2 inhibitor, etoricoxib, for post-surgical pain control.

PEU composition, drug-load, and film thickness were varied to selectively control etoricoxib elution. Elution data were fit to a Higuchi model, and the diffusion constant of etoricoxib was calculated in each of the films. Pharmacokinetic data from an in vivo rat model showed the local tissue concentration of etoricoxib at the study endpoint to be up to 23-fold higher in tissue than plasma. A well-established mouse model of diabetic neuropathic pain in vivo film implantation showed effective relief of pain for more than 4 days post-implantation and efficacious local etoricoxib delivery.

The implantable film would be particularly useful in endoscopic procedures and instances where the physicians and patients would like to avoid opioid exposure such a C-section and pediatric surgeries.

Conclusively, implementation of local drug delivery systems such as this could reduce the need for opioid prescriptions associated with current pain management strategies.

Journal of Controlled Release