Hydrolytic degradation and drug release of ricinoleic acid-lactic acid copolyesters

Raia Slivniak, Aviva Ezra, Abraham J. Domb

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24 Scopus citations


A systematic study on the degradation and drug release from l-lactic acid and ricinoleic-acid-based copolyesters is reported. These copolyesters were synthesized by ring opening polymerization (ROP), melt condensation (COND) and transesterification (TRANS) of high molecular weight poly(lactic acid) (PLA) with ricinoleic acid (PLA-RA), and repolymerization by condensation to yield random and block copolymers of weight average molecular weights (Mw) between 3000 and 13,000. All polymers showed an almost zero-order weight loss, with a 20-40% loss after 60 days of incubation. Lactic acid release to the degradation solution is proportional to weight loss of the polymer samples. The main decrease in molecular weight was observed during the first 20 days, followed by a slow degradation phase, which kept the number average molecular weight (Mn) at 4000-2000 for another 40 days. Water-soluble 5FU was released from ricinoleic-acid-based polymers faster than slightly water-soluble triamcinolone. Drug release into phosphate-buffered saline (pH 7.4, 0.1 M) at 37°C from P(LA-RA) 60:40 prepared by condensation of the acids was faster than from pasty P(PLA-RA) 60:40 synthesized by transesterification for both drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1306-1312
Number of pages7
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Controlled drug release
  • Degradable polymers
  • Lactic acid
  • Polyesters
  • Ricinoleic acid


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