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ISRN Pharmaceutics
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 926157, 17 pages
Review Article

Alginate Particles as Platform for Drug Delivery by the Oral Route: State-of-the-Art

Group of Pharmaceutical Nanomaterials Science, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology De-Jur Building, Office 607, Technion City, 32000 Haifa, Israel

Received 12 January 2014; Accepted 25 February 2014; Published 9 April 2014

Academic Editors: Y. Ding, Y. Murata, S. Raic-Malic, and V. B. Sunderland

Copyright © 2014 Alejandro Sosnik. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pharmaceutical research and development aims to design products with ensured safety, quality, and efficacy to treat disease. To make the process more rational, coherent, efficient, and cost-effective, the field of Pharmaceutical Materials Science has emerged as the systematic study of the physicochemical properties and behavior of materials of pharmaceutical interest in relation to product performance. The oral route is the most patient preferred for drug administration. The presence of a mucus layer that covers the entire gastrointestinal tract has been exploited to expand the use of the oral route by developing a mucoadhesive drug delivery system that showed a prolonged residence time. Alginic acid and sodium and potassium alginates have emerged as one of the most extensively explored mucoadhesive biomaterials owing to very good cytocompatibility and biocompatibility, biodegradation, sol-gel transition properties, and chemical versatility that make possible further modifications to tailor their properties. The present review overviews the most relevant applications of alginate microparticles and nanoparticles for drug administration by the oral route and discusses the perspectives of this biomaterial in the future.