Women are the most affected by genital herpes, which is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, affecting more than 400 million people worldwide. The application of vaginal microbicides could provide a safe method of protection. Acyclovir is a safe and effective medication for vaginal administration, and numerous benefits have been observed in the treatment of primary or recurrent lesions due to genital herpes. Vaginal tablets based on a combination of the polymers iota-carrageenan and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose were developed for the controlled release of acyclovir. Swelling, mucoadhesion and drug release studies were carried out in simulated vaginal fluid. The tablets, containing a combination of iota-carrageenan and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, have an adequate uptake of the medium that allows them to develop the precise consistency and volume of gel for the controlled release of acyclovir. Its high mucoadhesive capacity also allows the formulation to remain in the vaginal area long enough to ensure the complete release of acyclovir. These promising formulations for the prevention of genital herpes deserve further evaluation.
Keywords: acyclovir controlled release; genital herpes; hydroxypropyl methylcellulose; iota-carrageenan; marine polymers; mucoadhesive vaginal tablets.