Nanoparticles as Drug Delivery Systems

Authored by: Elias Fattal , Christine Vauthier

Encyclopedia of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781841848198
eBook ISBN: 9781351124874
Adobe ISBN:


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Nanoparticles are small colloidal particles which are made of non-biodegradable and biodegradable polymers. Their diameter is generally around 200 nm. One can distinguish two types of nanoparticles (Fig. 1): nanospheres, which are matrix systems; and nanocapsules, which are reservoir systems composed of a polymer membrane surrounding an oily or aqueous core. These systems were developed in the early 1970s. This approach was attractive because the methods of preparation of particles were simple and easy to scale-up. The particles formed were stable and easily freeze-dried. Due to these reasons, nanoparticles made of biodegradable polymers were developed for drug delivery. Indeed, nanoparticles were able to achieve with success tissue targeting of many drugs (antibiotics, cytostatics, peptides and proteins, nucleic acids, etc.). In addition, nanoparticles were able to protect drugs against chemical and enzymatic degradation and were also able to reduce side effects of some active drugs. This review focuses on the preparation and characterization methods of nanoparticles. The main applications of these systems are also described.

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