Journal of drug targeting vol:6 issue:2 pages:129-149
Specific targeting of drugs to the colon is recognized to have several therapeutic advantages. Drugs which are destroyed by the stomach acid and/or metabolized by pancreatic enzymes are slightly affected in the colon, and sustained colonic release of drugs can be useful in the treatment of nocturnal asthma, angina and arthritis. Treatment of colonic diseases such as ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer and Crohn's disease is more effective with direct delivery of drugs to the affected area. Likewise, colonic delivery of vermicides and colonic diagnostic agents require smaller doses. This article is aimed at providing insight into the design considerations and evaluation of colonic drug delivery systems. For this purpose, the anatomy and physiology of the lower gastrointestinal tract are surveyed. Furthermore, the biopharmaceutical aspects are considered in relation to drug absorption in the colon and hence various approaches to colon-specific drug delivery are discussed.