Painkillers like ibuprofen are commonly used to treat headaches, back pain or fever. However, people tend to continuously take medicines for every four to six hours if the pain warrants it.
Scientists are now finding new ways to pack the painkillers in certain compounds that would make its effect last longer.
The study findings were also reported in the ACS' journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.
Recently, scientists have been studying compounds called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which are made of metal ions linked to organic ligands, for drug delivery. Active ingredients can be packed inside MOFs, which are porous, and some of them have additional traits such as water solubility that make them good candidates for drug couriers.
But few studies have so far investigated whether such MOFs could be used in oral formulations. J. Fraser Stoddart and colleagues wanted to test promising MOFs using ibuprofen as a model drug.
The researchers loaded therapeutically relevant concentrations of ibuprofen into easily prepared, biocompatible MOFs with cyclodextrin and alkali metal cations. Testing in mice showed that the compounds reached the blood stream quickly in about 10 to 20 minutes and lasted twice as long as ibuprofen salts, which are the active ingredient in commercial liquid gel formulations.
The researchers say the promising findings suggest that these compounds could take the next step toward commercial development for delivering ibuprofen and potentially other drugs.