Why is a Novel Drug Delivery System Important for Herbal or Ayurvedic Medicines?

Published: 23rd October 2008
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Novel drug delivery system is a novel approach to drug delivery system that addresses the limitations of the traditional drug delivery systems. Before we learn about Novel Drug Delivery System, let us first get a clear idea of a drug delivery system.

What is Drug Delivery System?

Modern medicine cures a particular disease by targeting exactly the affected zone inside a patient's body and transporting the drug to that area. Drug delivery system is the method by which this is made possible. An optimum amount of the concerned drug is administered to the patient in such a way that it reaches exactly the 'site of action' and starts working then and there.

What happens to the drug after being consumed?

After swallowing a tablet, it reaches the stomach and breaks down to the components of the drug. The drug dissolves in the fluid of stomach and intestine. Then it crosses the gastro intestinal barrier and reaches the blood. Finally, it goes to the target area.

Its disadvantages, if any

There are quite a few disadvantages, especially if the patient in question is an infant or an aged person. It becomes difficult to feed the medicine orally. Even if the drug is in liquid form, taste becomes the hindrance in making it agreeable. If it is mixed with food, there remains the question of how the medicine will react with the food constituents.

How to overcome it

The design of such a drug delivery system overriding these difficulties is not that easy. Novel drug delivery system attempts to eliminate all the disadvantages associated with conventional drug delivery systems. It is achieved by developing a special coating of the tablet that dissolves with the saliva after placing in the oral cavity.

The mouth dissolving factor of the drug increases its bioavailability

Bioavailability of a drug is the percentage or fraction of the administered drug that reaches the site of action after going through all the metabolic functions and mixing with the digestive juices. The higher the bioavailability, the greater is the efficacy of the drug. The bioavailability is 100% when a medicine is administered through intravenous injections. The lowest bioavailability is when a drug is administered orally. Most of the time it is not absorbed completely and its absorption into the digestive system reduce the drug concentration greatly before it starts working on the disease. A mouth dissolving tablet gets no time to mix with the digestive juices and therefore offers a large level of bioavailability.

Why is Novel Drug Delivery important for herbal medicines?

In case of herbal extracts, there is a great possibility that many compounds will be destroyed in the highly acidic pH of the stomach. Other components might be metabolized by the liver before reaching the blood. As a result, the actual amount of the drug may not reach the blood. If the drug doesn't reach the blood at a minimum level which is known as 'minimum effective level' then there will be no therapeutic effect.

If the novel drug delivery technology is present in a herbal medicine, it helps in dissolving fast with the saliva after it's placed in the oral cavity. Thus it bypasses the acidic pH of the stomach, and leaves no room for the interference of metabolic processes. This is the basic idea behind incorporating novel method of drug delivery in herbal medicines.

Thus it is important to incorporate the novel drug delivery system in Indian Ayurvedic medicines to combat more serious diseases like asthma and other chronic diseases.

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