Oral, ultra-long-acting medication on the horizon

Single administration drugs may soon deliver sustained dosages over weeks, months or potentially even years, research suggests

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US have designed a capsule-carried dosage form that can deliver up to 10 to 14 days of sustained, mosquitocidal ivermectin.

The design involves star-shaped, drug-containing material packaged into a capsule. When swallowed, the capsule dissolves in the stomach and the star unfolds, assuming a shape that cannot pass further down the intestine.

The star delivers ivermectin for weeks but eventually falls apart and passes harmlessly out of the body. Although tested in pigs, the authors say the dosage form is compatible with human administration.

Researchers suggest these medications could be tuned for gastric residence times ranging from days to months and potentially even years.

“We believe that ultra–long-acting gastric-resident dosage forms could transform the standard of care across a broad range of clinical conditions,” they write in the peer-reviewed Science Translational Medicine.

“This system will boost the efficacy of mass drug administration toward malaria elimination goals.

“Encapsulated, gastric-resident dosage forms for ultra–long-acting drug delivery have the potential to revolutionise treatment options for malaria and other diseases that affect large populations around the globe for which treatment adherence is essential for efficacy.”

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