Improving antimicrobial release kinetics from hydrophobic polymer implants via ion pairing to combat biomedical-device related infection

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Purpose The aim of this study is to improve the drug release properties of antimicrobial agents from hydrophobic biomaterials using using an ion pairing strategy. In so doing antimicrobial agents may be eluted and maintained over a sufficient time period thereby preventing bacterial colonisation and subsequent biofilm formation on medical devices. Methods The model antimicrobial agent was chlorhexidine and the selected fatty acid counter ions were capric acid, myristic acid and stearic acid. The polymethyl methacrylate films were loaded with 2% of fatty acid:antimicrobial agent at the following molar ratios; 0.5:1M, 1:1M and 2:1M and thermally polymerized using azobisisobutyronitrile initiator. Drug release experiments were subsequently performed over a 3-month period and the mass of drug released under sink conditions (pH 7.0, 37oC) quantified using a validated HPLC-UV method. Results In all platforms, a burst of chlorhexidine release was observed over the initial 24-hour period. Similar release kinetics were observed between the formulations during the initial 28 days. However, as time progressed, the chlorhexidine baseline plateaued after 56 days whereas formulations containing the counterions appeared to continuously elute linearly with time. As can be observed in figure 1, the rank order of total chlorhexidine release in the presence of 0.5M fatty acid was myristic acid (40%) > capric acid (35%) > stearic acid (30%)> chlorhexidine baseline (15%). Conclusion The incorporation of fatty acids within the formulation significantly improved chlorhexidine solubility within both the monomer and the polymer and enhanced the drug release kinetics over the period of study. This is attributed to the greater diffusivity of chlorhexidine through PMMA in the presence of fatty acids. In th absence of fatty acids, chlorhexidine release was facilitated by dissolution of surface associated drug particles. This study has illustrated the ability of fatty acids to modulate chlorhexidine release from a model biomaterial through enhanced diffusivity. This strategy may prove advantageous for improved medical devices with enhanced resistance to infection.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 06 Nov 2014
Event2014 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition - San Diego, United States
Duration: 02 Nov 201406 Nov 2014


Conference2014 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

Bibliographical note



Dive into the research topics of 'Improving antimicrobial release kinetics from hydrophobic polymer implants via ion pairing to combat biomedical-device related infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this