Microcapsules for sustained release of poorly soluble isosorbide dinitrate (ISDN) were prepared based on ethylcellulose (EC) and/or blended with appropriate amounts of relatively hydrophilic hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) as matrix materials using the oil-in-oil emulsion evaporation method. The microspheres studied had three-mode sizes (100-150, 250-300 and 400-450 μm) and four polymer compositions (1, 0.833, 0.67 and 0.5 weight fraction EC). The microspheres were observed to contain essentially no drug crystalline domain and were of a porous morphology. The cumulative amounts of ISDN releasing from the microspheres as functions of mode fractions size and polymer compositions were measured in vitro. It was observed that the microspheres' size influenced the release behaviour of drug more obviously than the polymer composition. The smaller size and the higher hydrophilic HPC content show the faster release rate of drug and the smaller amount of drug residue. The kinetics of drug release depends on the size and polymer composition. The microspheres with 100-150 μm, of all polymer compositions, present one-stage diffusion kinetic with a lag period for drug release. On the other hand, the microspheres with the other two sizes exhibit two-stage diffusion kinetic with a lag period. According to the kinetic model, the microspheres obtained are surmised to have a core-shell like drug concentration distribution and/or a core-shell morphology.
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