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New Drug Delivery System Reduces Side Effects Of Anti-Psychotics

by Pooja Shete on January 20, 2021 at 12:30 AM
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New Drug Delivery System Reduces Side Effects Of Anti-Psychotics

A team of neuroscientists and engineers have created a nasal spray to deliver antipsychotic medication directly to the brain instead of having it to pass through the body.

Antipsychotics are used for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other conditions. The nasal spray delivery system will reduce the doses of powerful antipsychotic medications by three quarters. This will reduce the side effects significantly and also the frequency of the required treatment.


The study conducted at McMaster University is published in Journal of Controlled Release.

This nasal spray delivery system reaches the brain directly through the nose, offering patients greater ease of use and the promise of improved quality of life, including more reliable, and effective treatment.

The researcher proved the concept of their new delivery mechanism in rats by using PAOPA, a drug that is commonly prescribed to treat schizophrenia.

A major problem of using antipsychotic medications is that when they are taken orally or by injection, the drugs must pass through the body before they reach the brain through the blood. In order to be sure that enough oral or injected medication reaches the brain, a patient must take much more than the brain will ultimately receive. This can sometimes lead to serious adverse side effects like weight gain, diabetes, drug-induced movement disorders and organ damage over the long term.

The spray medication can enter the brain directly via olfactory nerve when given through the nose.

Ram Mishra, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and Co-Director of McMaster's School of Biomedical Engineering, and Todd Hoare, a Canada Research Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering said, "The trick here is to administer the drug through the back door to the brain, since the front door is sealed so tightly. This way we can bypass the blood-brain barrier. By delivering the drug directly to the target, we can avoid side effects below the brain."

Mishra along with Rodney Johnson of the University of Minnesota had earlier created a water-soluble form of the medication, which was used for the current research. This new form created was easier to manipulate. However, they still lacked an effective vehicle for delivering it to the brain. A particular issue was that frequent re-administration is required as the drugs delivered via the nose are typically cleared from the body quickly.

In the meantime, Hoare along with an industrial partner developed the use of microscopic nanoparticles of corn starch for agricultural applications.

On collaboration, the engineering team was able to bind the drug to the corn starch nanoparticles. When sprayed together with a natural polymer derived from crabs, they could penetrate deep into the nasal cavity and form a thin gel in the mucus lining, slowly releasing a controlled dose of the drug. This drug remained active for over three days and was effective in treating schizophrenia symptoms.

Hoare said, "The cornstarch nanoparticles we were using for an industrial application were the perfect vehicle. They are naturally derived, they break down over time into simple sugars, and we need to do very little chemistry on them to make this technology work, so they are great candidates for biological uses like this."

This slow release property meant that the patients would only need to take their medication every few days instead of every day or, in some cases, every few hours.

Source: Medindia

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