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About Authors:
Divya Rawat, U.K.Singh, Faizi Muzaffar
Kharvel Subharti College of Pharmacy,
swami Vivekanand subharti university, Subhartipuram,
N.H-58, Meerut By Pass Road, Meerut, Uttar Pardesh-250001, India

Microspheres constitute an important part of novel drug delivery system by virtue of their small size and efficient carrier capacity. Microspheres are characteristically free flowing powders consisting of proteins or synthetic polymers having a particle size ranging from 1-1000 μm. The range of Techniques for the preparation of microspheres offers a Variety of opportunities to control aspects of drug administration and enhance the therapeutic efficacy of a given drug. There are various approaches in delivering a therapeutic substance to the target site in a sustained controlled release fashion. One such approach is using microspheres as carriers for drugs also known as micro particles. It is the reliable means to deliver the drug to the target site with specificity, if modified, and to maintain the desired concentration at the site of interest. Microspheres received much attention not only for prolonged release, but also for targeting of anticancer drugs. The purpose of the review is to compile various types of microspheres, different methods to preparation, its applications and also various parameters to evaluate their efficiency.







In contrast to drug delivery system, the word novel is searching something out of necessity. The drug has to be delivered for a prolonged period of time and many medicines have to be taken simultaneously in case of chronic patients. Frequent administration of drug is necessary when those have shorter half life and all these leads to decrease in patient’s compliance.[1]

In order to overcome the above problems, various types of controlled release dosage forms are formulated and altered, so that patient compliance increase through prolonged effect , adverse effect decreases by lowering peak plasma concentration.2 The controlled release dosage form maintaining relatively constant drug level in the plasma by releasing the drug at a predetermined rate for an extended period of time. One such in Microspheres as carriers of drug become an approach of controlled release dosage form in novel drug delivery system.[2]

Microspheres are small spherical particles, with diameters in the micrometer range (typically 1 μm to 1000 μm). Microspheres are sometimes referred to as microparticles.

Microspheres can be manufactured from various natural and synthetic materials. Glass microspheres, polymer microspheres and ceramic microspheres are commercially available. Solid and hollow microspheres vary widely in density and, therefore, are used for different applications. Hollow microspheres are typically used as additives to lower the density of a material. Solid microspheres have numerous applications depending on what material they are constructed of and what size they are.

 Polyethylene and polystyrene microspheres are two most common types of polymer microspheres. Polystyrene microspheres are typically used in biomedical applications due to their ability to facilitate procedures such as cell sorting and immune precipitation. Proteins and ligands adsorb onto polystyrene readily and permanently, which makes polystyrene microspheres suitable for medical research and biological laboratory experiments. Polyethylene microspheres are commonly used as permanent or temporary filler. Lower melting temperature enables polyethylene microspheres to create porous structures in ceramics and other materials. High sphericity of polyethylene microspheres, as well as availability of colored and fluorescent microspheres, makes them highly desirable for flow visualization and fluid flow analysis, microscopy techniques, health sciences, process troubleshooting and numerous research applications. Charged polyethylene microspheres are also used in electronic paper digital displays.

Glass microspheres are primarily used as filler for weight reduction, retro-reflector for highway safety, additive for cosmetics and adhesives, with limited applications in medical technology. Ceramic microspheres are used primarily as grinding media. Microspheres vary widely in quality, sphericity, uniformity of particle and particle size distribution. The appropriate microsphere needs to be chosen for each unique application.

The term microcapsule is defined as a spherical particle with size varying from 50nm to 2nm containing a core substance. Alternate terminology for the microsphere is micro beads and -beads are used alternatively.[3] [4]

1. Microspheres provide constant and prolonged therapeutic effect.
2. Reduces the dosing frequency and thereby improve the patient compliance.
3. They could be injected into the body due to the spherical shape and smaller size.
4. Better drug utilization will improve the bioavailability and reduce the incidence or intensity of adverse effects.
5. Microsphere morphology allows a controllable variability in degradation and drug release.[5]

Some of the disadvantages were found to be as follows
1. The modified release from the formulations.
2. The release rate of the controlled release dosage form may vary from a variety of factors like food and the rate of transit though gut.
3. Differences in the release rate from one dose to another.
4. Controlled release formulations generally contain a higher drug load and thus any loss of integrity of the release characteristics of the dosage form may lead to potential toxicity.
5. Dosage forms of this kind should not becrushed or chewed.[5]

1. Taste and odour masking.
2. Conversion of oil and other liquids, facilitating ease of handling.
3. Protection of the drugs from the environment.
4. Delay of volatilization.
5. Freedom from incompatibilities between drugs and excipients, especially the buffers.
6. Improvement of flow properties.
7. Safe handling of toxic substances.
8. Dispersion of water insoluble substances on aqueous media.
9. Production of sustained release, controlled release and targeted medications.
10. Reduced dose dumping potential compared to large implantable devices.
11. They facilitate accurate delivery of small quantities of potent drugs and reduced concentration of the drug at sites other than the target organ of tissue.


1.     Bio adhesive  microspheres:[7]
Adhesion can be defined as sticking of drug to the membrane by using the sticking property of the water soluble polymers. Adhesion of drug delivery device to the mucosal membrane such as buccal, ocular, rectal, nasal etc can be termed as bioadhesion. The term “bioadhesion”describes materials that bind to biological substrates’, such as mucosal members. Adhesion of Bioadhesive drug delivery devices to the mucosal tissue offers the possibility of creating an intimate and prolonged contact at the site of administration. This prolonged residence time can result in enhanced absorption and in combination with a controlled release of drug also improved patient compliance by reducing the frequency of administration. Carrier technology offers an intelligent approach for drug delivery by coupling the drug to a carrier particle such as microspheres, nanospheres, liposomes, nanoparticles, etc., which modulates the release and absorption of the drug. Microspheres constitute an important part of these particulate drug delivery systems by virtue of their small size and efficient carrier capacity.

2.     Magnetic microspheres:[8],[9],[10],[11].
This kind of delivery system is very much important which localises the drug to the disease site. In this larger amount of freely circulating drug can be replaced by smaller amount of magnetically targeted drug. Magnetic carriers receive magnetic responses to a magnetic field from incorporated materials that are used for magnetic microspheres are chitosan, dextran etc.[8] The different type are Therapeutic magnetic microspheres are used to deliver chemotherapeutic agent to liver tumour. Drugs like proteins and peptides can also be targeted through this system.[9] Diagnostic microspheres.[10] Magnetic drug transport technique is based on the fact that the drug can be either encapsulated into a magnetic microsphere or conjugated on the surface of the microsphere.The accumulation of the carrier at the target site allow them to deliver the drug locally.[11]

3. Floating microspheres:[12].
In floating types the bulk density is less than the gastric fluid and so remains buoyant in stomach without affecting gastric emptying rate. The drug is released slowly at the desired rate, if the system is floating on gastric content, increases gastric residence and fluctuation in plasma concentration. It also reduces chances of striking and dose dumping and produces prolonged therapeutic effect. Drug (ketoprofen) given through this form.[12]

4. Radioactive microspheres:[13]
Radio emobilisation therapy microspheres sized 10-30 nm are of larger than capillaries and gets tapped in first capillary bed when they come across. They are injected to the arteries that lead to tumour of interest. So these radioactive microspheres deliver high radiation dose to the targeted areas without damaging the normal surrounding tissues. It differs from drug delivery system, as radio activity is not released from microspheres but acts from within a radioisotope typical distance and the different kinds of radioactive microspheres are α emitters, β emitters, γ emitters.[13]

5.     Muco adhesive microspheres:[14]
Muco adhesive microspheres which are of 1-1000mm in diameter and consisting either entirely of a muco adhesive polymer or having an outer coating of it and coupling of muco adhesive properties to microspheres has additional advantages, e.g. efficient absorption and enhanced bioavailability of the drugs due to a high surface to volume ratio, a much more intimate contact with the mucus layer, specific targeting of drug to the absorption site achieved by anchoring plant lectins, bacterial adhesions and antibodies, etc. on the surface of the microspheres. Mucoadhesive microspheres can be tailored to adhere to any mucosal tissue including those found in eye, nasal cavity, urinary and gastrointestinal tract, thus offering the possibilities of localized as well as systemic controlled release of drugs.[14]

6. Polymeric microspheres:[15]
The different types of polymeric microspheres can be classified as

(a) Biodegradable polymeric microspheres:
Natural polymers such as starch are used with the concept that they are biodegradable, biocompatible, and also Bioadhesive in nature. Biodegradable polymers prolongs the residence time when contact with mucous membrane due to its high degree of swelling property with aqueous medium , results gel formation. The rate and extent of drug release is controlled by concentration of polymer and the release pattern in a sustained manner. The main drawback is, in clinical use drug loading efficiency of biodegradable microspheres is complex and is difficult to control the drug release.

(b) Synthetic polymeric microspheres:
The interest of synthetic polymeric microspheres are widely used in clinical application, moreover that also used as bulking agent, fillers, embolic particles, drug delivery vehicles etc and proved to be safe and biocompatible. But the main disadvantage of these kind of microspheres, are tend to migrate away from injection site and lead to potential risk, embolism and further organ damage.



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