Kinetics of Drug Release from Clay Using Enhanced Sampling Methods

Pharmaceutics. 2022 Nov 24;14(12):2586. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14122586.


A key step in the development of a new drug, is the design of drug-excipient complexes that lead to optimal drug release kinetics. Computational chemistry and specifically enhanced sampling molecular dynamics methods can play a key role in this context, by minimizing the need for expensive experiments, and reducing cost and time. Here we show that recent advances in enhanced sampling methodologies can be brought to fruition in this area. We demonstrate the potential of these methodologies by simulating the drug release kinetics of the complex praziquantel-montmorillonite in water. Praziquantel finds promising applications in the treatment of schistosomiasis, but its biopharmaceutical profile needs to be improved, and a cheap material such as the montmorillonite clay would be a very convenient excipient. We simulate the drug release both from surface and interlayer space, and find that the diffusion of the praziquantel inside the interlayer space is the process that limits the rate of drug release.

Keywords: clay minerals; computational calculations; drug release; enhanced sampling molecular dynamics; kinetics; praziquantel.