Objectives: This study describes the in-situ gelling of econazole nitrate containing thermosensitive polymers composed of poloxamer 407 and 188 as a novel treatment platform for vaginal candidiasis.
Methods: Aqueous thermosensitive formulations containing 1% of econazole nitrate and poloxamer 407 and/or 188 were prepared and their rheological, mechanical and drug-release properties determined at 20 ± 0.1°C and/or 37 ± 0.1°C. Based on their biologically suitable thermorheological properties, formulations containing the mixtures of poloxamer 407 and 188 in ratios of 15:15 (F1), 15:20 (F2) and 20:10 (F3) were chosen for comprehensive analysis.
Key findings: Formulations based on F3 exhibited typical gel-type mechanical spectra (G' > G″) at 37°C whereas formulations based on F1 and F2 exhibited properties akin to weakly cross-linked gels. Texture profile analysis demonstrated that F3 showed the highest cohesiveness, adhesiveness, hardness and compressibility. No statistically significant differences (P > 0.5) were observed in the release of econazole nitrate from the formulations at pH 4.5, which in all cases followed anomalous diffusion kinetics. Formulations based on 20% poloxamer 407:10% poloxamer 188 were chosen for in-vivo studies and were shown to be effective for the treatment of the vaginal candidiasis. Histopathologic evaluation also supported the effectiveness of the thermosensitive formulation administered intravaginally.
Conclusion: By careful engineering of the rheological properties, in-situ thermosensitive gel formulations of econazole nitrate were prepared and were shown to be efficacious in the treatment of vaginal candidiasis.
© 2011 The Authors. JPP © 2011 Royal Pharmaceutical Society.