The present study illustrates the application of the concept of Quality by Design for development, optimization and evaluation of Lorazepam loaded microemulsion containing ion responsive In situ gelator gellan gum and carbopol 934. A novel approach involving interactions between surfactant and polymer was employed to achieve controlled drug release and reduced mucociliary clearance. Microemulsion formulated using preliminary solubility study and pseudo ternary phase diagrams showed significantly improved solubilization capacity of Lorazepam with 54.31 ± 6.07 nm droplets size. The effect of oil to surfactant/cosurfactant ratio and concentration of gelling agent on the drug release and viscosity of microemulsion gel (MEG) was evaluated using a 32 full factorial design. The gel of optimized formulation (MEG1) showed a drug release up to 6 h of 97.32 ± 1.35% of total drug loaded. The change in shear-dependent viscosity for different formulations on interaction with Simulated Nasal Fluid depicts the crucial role of surfactant-polymer interactions on the gelation properties along with calcium ions binding on the polymer chains. It is proposed that the surfactant-polymer interactions in the form of a stoichiometric hydrogen bonding between oxyethylene and carboxylic groups of the polymers used, provides exceptional ME stability and adhesion properties. Compared with the marketed formulation, optimized MEG showed improved pharmacodynamic activity. Ex vivo diffusion studies revealed significantly higher release for MEG compared to microemulsion and drug solution. MEG showed higher flux and permeation across goat nasal mucosa. According to the study, it could be concluded that formulation would successfully provide the rapid onset of action, and decrease the mucociliary clearance due to formation of in situ gelling mucoadhesive system.
- Factorial design
- In situ gelation
- Pharmacodynamic activity
- Polymer-surfactant interaction