Ranbaxy patent for new "floating" tablet

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

India's Ranbaxy Laboratories has been granted a US patent on its
controlled-release drug delivery system, which takes the form of a
'floating' tablet that once swallowed, is retained in the upper
gastrointestinal tract to provide maximum drug absorption.

The invention can be used to provide controlled-release delivery of a number of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), used in a wide range of medications such as antivirals, antibiotics, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and H2-antagonists, among many other compounds.

This new technology has the potential to provide significant therapeutic advantages for millions of prescriptions.

Controlled drug delivery results in optimum therapy, and not only reduces the frequency of dosing, but may also reduce the severity and frequency of side effects by maintaining patient blood levels of the drug above the minimum effective level and below the minimum toxic level.

Ranbaxy's new patent was developed to provide a pharmaceutical composition that controls the release of an API in the stomach or upper part of the intestine, and at the same time overcomes a number of disadvantages which have been associated with attempts by various companies to provide controlled delivery in the past.

Problems with many currently available controlled-release tablets include tablet distintegration, which can lead to an undesirably rapid delivery of the drug, and also the erratic and inefficient absorption of drugs that do not absorb evenly across the length of the gastrointestinal tract.

This can decrease the drug's effectiveness and also cause unwanted side-effects.

The new technology is particularly suitable for controlled delivery of drugs that are absorbed only from the upper parts of the gastro-intestinal tract with a specific absorption window, for example, ciprofloxacin, which is absorbed only from the region extending from the stomach to the jejunum.

Alternative drug delivery technologies, such as the one patented by Ranbaxy, are increasingly being developed by drug companies to provide them with a competitive edge to survive in today's tough pharmaceutical market and also to revamp off-patent drug products.

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