Drug Delivery

An Overview of Drug Delivery Methods: From Oral Administration to Targeted Delivery Systems

Drug delivery refers to the method or process of administering a drug into an individual’s body. Drug delivery aims to ensure the drug reaches the intended target site and produces the desired therapeutic effect while minimising potential side effects. Drug delivery can be achieved through various methods, including oral administration, injection, topical application, and inhalation. Oral administration is the most common method of drug delivery.

This method involves swallowing a drug as a tablet, capsule, or liquid. However, the drug may be broken down by stomach acid and digestive enzymes before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream, reducing its effectiveness. The injection is another drug delivery method involving injecting the drug directly into the bloodstream or muscle tissue. The injection delivers the drug quickly and effectively, allowing it to bypass the digestive system and produce an immediate therapeutic effect.

However, the injection can be painful and cause infection or other side effects. The topical application involves applying a drug directly to the skin, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Topical application is commonly used for skin conditions and localised pain relief. It is less invasive than injection and can be less painful, but it may take longer for the drug to produce an effect. Inhalation involves breathing in a drug in the form of a gas or aerosol. Inhalation treats respiratory conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Inhalation delivers the drug directly to the lungs, quickly absorbing it into the bloodstream. However, inhalation may cause irritation or other respiratory side effects. Recent advances in drug delivery technology have resulted in the development of targeted drug delivery systems and involve delivering the drug directly to the site of action, minimising side effects, and maximising therapeutic effectiveness.

Targeted drug delivery can be achieved through various methods, including nanoparticles, liposomes, and implantable devices. Nanoparticles are tiny particles that can be engineered to carry drugs and deliver them to specific cells or tissues. Liposomes are small, spherical vesicles that can be used to encapsulate drugs and deliver them to specific sites. Implantable devices, such as drug-eluting stents, can be used to deliver drugs directly to the site of action over an extended period of time.

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