Exploring Special Drug Delivery Systems: The Future of Precision Medicine


In the ever-evolving world of pharmacotherapy, one of the most exciting advancements is the development of Special Drug Delivery Systems. These innovative systems are designed to release medication at a predetermined rate or site, enhancing the effectiveness and reducing the side effects of various treatments. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the types of Special Drug Delivery Systems and how they’re revolutionizing healthcare.

Types of Special Drug Delivery Systems

Various special drug delivery systems have been developed to incorporate drugs in a dosage form that releases the medication at a predetermined site or at a predetermined rate over an extended period of time from a single application. Some of the most notable ones include:

  • Devices for Slow, Prolonged Release: Such as ocusert, progestasert, and drug-eluting stents.
  • Rapid Delivery Devices: Specifically for anti-convulsant lorazepam targeting the CNS.
  • Prodrugs: Inactive compounds that become active post-administration.
  • Targeted Delivery Systems: Using monoclonal antibodies for precise delivery.
  • Liposomes: Spherical shells of phospholipids used for targeted drug delivery.

Spotlight on Notable Systems


Ocusert is a device placed under the eyelid that delivers a steady flow of pilocarpine around the clock for seven days. It eliminates the need for frequent eye drops and provides comfort to the user.


This intrauterine contraceptive device releases minute quantities of progesterone within the uterus, providing contraception for up to a year.

Drug-Eluting Stents (DES)

These stents are used during coronary angioplasty and consist of a metallic backbone covered with a polymer containing a drug like sirolimus or paclitaxel. The drug is gradually released over 14-30 days, reducing the incidence of restenosis.

The Role of Prodrugs

A prodrug is an inactive compound that becomes pharmacologically active after undergoing biotransformation. Prodrugs can overcome barriers in both the pharmaceutical and pharmacokinetic phases. For instance, 1-dopa is used to treat Parkinson’s disease to increase the bioavailability of dopamine in the CNS. Prodrugs can also provide site-specific delivery, like methenamine, which acts as a urinary tract antiseptic.

Targeted and Liposomal Delivery Systems

Targeted delivery systems use monoclonal antibodies to deliver lethal concentrations of anti-cancer drugs directly to cancer tissues. Liposomes, on the other hand, are concentric, spherical shells of phospholipids that can carry drugs like anticancer agents (daunorubicin and doxorubicin), antifungal drugs (amphotericin B), and antibiotics (gentamicin).

Conclusion: The Impact on Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics

Special Drug Delivery Systems are not just about delivering the drug; they also influence the drug’s pharmacokinetics—absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion. These factors determine the drug’s concentration at the site of action, which in turn influences its pharmacological effects.


  1. What are Special Drug Delivery Systems?
    • They are systems designed to release medication at a predetermined rate or site.
  2. What are some examples of these systems?
    • Examples include ocusert, progestasert, and drug-eluting stents.
  3. How do prodrugs work?
    • Prodrugs are inactive compounds that become active after administration, often used to overcome barriers to drug effectiveness.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider for medical advice and treatment.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of a healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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