By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Fighting the troublesome common cold is now just a
“chew away”. A team of Indian researchers has developed a medicated
chewing gum that gives relief from the symptoms of the common cold
within just 15 minutes.
Normal cold reliever tablets and syrups take at least one hour for
onset of action. The medicated chewing gum works within a few minutes
as the medicine is released directly into the blood circulatory system.
Researchers from the premier National Institute of Pharmaceutical
Education and Research (NIPER), Ahmedabad, used cetirizine to make the
chewing gum. Since cetirizine is bitter and highly unpalatable, they
masked its bitterness. The chewing gum for common cold is sweet and
its flavour lasts for about eight minutes. By this time, the medicine
starts entering the systemic (blood) circulation and begins its action.
“Patients will get quick relief from symptoms of common cold with
greater compliance compared to other conventional dosage forms. Taste
is one of the most important parameters in governing patient
compliance. The medicated gum has soft chewability, high consistency,
sweet taste, and total average flavor lasting time of 6 to 8 minutes,”
said the researchers Shivang A Chaudhary and Aliasgar F Shahiwala. The
result of the study on the medicated chewing gum was published in the
prestigious International Journal of Pharmaceutical Investigation.
Unlike drugs meant for common cold, which give a mild sedative effect,
the medicated chewing gum does not produce sedation. “Common cold is
the most frequently recurring disease in the world and is a leading
cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work. Cold
reliever medicated chewing gum will be a definitive patient acceptable
solution for this condition,” they said.
The medicine in the chewing gum is easily released into the salivary
fluid within a few minutes of chewing and it can permeate from oral
mucosa by the pressure created by the chewing action and absorbed to a
larger extent into the blood circulation. The team conducted a "chew
out" study involving volunteers to find out the efficacy of the
medicated chewing gum. They found that 90 per cent of the drug is
released within 15 minutes.
Since it provides a slow and steady release of medicine, the medicated
chewing gum technology can be utilised for local treatment of mouth
disease or systemic delivery of medicine by direct intraoral (blood
circulation) absorption through the mucus membrane present in the mouth.
According to the NIPER team, it is a trouble-free self-medication with
complete control and allows patients to live an active life during
treatment. It also makes oral administration of drugs possible
anywhere anytime without simultaneous intake of water.
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