Effect of ethanol on the water permeability of controlled release films composed of ethyl cellulose and hydroxypropyl cellulose
Journal article, 2010

The robustness of controlled release formulations when co-ingested with alcohol is a current concern expressed by regulatory authorities, especially with regard to dose dumping. One such controlled release formulation commonly used is film coating composed of ethyl cellulose (EC) and hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC). The aim of this study was to investigate how the presence of ethanol in the dissolution medium affects the water permeability of such films. Film samples were prepared in various EC–HPC compositions, and the effect of different ethanol concentrations in the dissolution medium on the permeability was studied using a modified Ussing chamber and tritiated water. It was found that the effect of ethanol on the film permeability varied depending on the composition of the films. The results were interpreted in terms of swelling of the EC in the films, where the swelling increased with increasing ethanol concentration. Thus, for films with low HPC content (non-interconnected pores), the water permeability of the films increased with increasing ethanol concentration as the diffusion through the ethyl cellulose increased due to swelling. However, for films with higher HPC content (having interconnected pores through the films), the permeability decreased, likely due to the swelling of the ethyl cellulose blocking the pores. The interpretation of the results was supported by dynamic mechanic analysis and SEM analysis.



Controlled release


Hydroxypropyl cellulose

Ethyl cellulose


Mikael Larsson

SuMo Biomaterials

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Pharmaceutical Technology

Johan Hjärtstam

AstraZeneca AB

Jolina Berndtsson

AstraZeneca AB

Mats Stading

Chalmers, Materials and Manufacturing Technology, Polymeric Materials and Composites

Anette Larsson

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Pharmaceutical Technology

SuMo Biomaterials

European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics

0939-6411 (ISSN)

Vol. 76 3 428-432

Subject Categories

Materials Engineering

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Areas of Advance

Materials Science



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