Alginate-diltiazem hydrochloride beads: optimization of formulation factors, in vitro and in vivo availability

J Microencapsul. 2003 Mar-Apr;20(2):211-25.


Alginate beads containing diltiazem hydrochloride (DTZ) were prepared by the ionotropic gelation method. The effects of various factors (alginate concentration, additives type, calcium chloride concentration and curing time) on the efficiency of drug loading were investigated. The formulation containing a mixture of 0.8% methylcellulose (MC) and 4% alginate cured in 2% calcium chloride for 6 h was chosen as the best formula regarding the loading efficiency. The release rate of DTZ from various beads formulations was investigated. The release of drug from alginate beads followed two mechanisms; by diffusion and relaxation of the polymer at pH 1.2, whilst diffusion and erosion are at pH 6.8. The in vitro release of DTZ from MC-alginate beads showed an extended release pattern which was compared with that from commercially available sustained-release (Dilzem SR) and fast release tablets (Dilzem). Thermal analysis revealed that the drug was molecularly dispersed in the beads matrix. Although the release characteristics of DTZ from Dilzem SR and MC-alginate beads were completely different, the bioavailability of DTZ in dogs was comparable as measured by AUC, MRT and relative bioavailability. The absolute bioavailability of MC-alginate beads and Dilzem SR was 88 and 93%, respectively.

MeSH terms

  • Alginates / chemistry*
  • Alginates / pharmacokinetics
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Calcium / pharmacokinetics
  • Calcium Chloride / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Agents / chemistry*
  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Diffusion
  • Diltiazem / chemistry*
  • Diltiazem / pharmacokinetics
  • Dogs
  • Drug Compounding / methods
  • Gels
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Methylcellulose / analysis
  • Microspheres
  • Tablets
  • Time Factors


  • Alginates
  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Gels
  • Tablets
  • Methylcellulose
  • Diltiazem
  • Calcium Chloride
  • Calcium