Design, Characterization and In Vivo Evaluation of a Microparticulate Depot Formulation of Buprenorphine for Veterinary Use

Schreiner, Viktoria. Design, Characterization and In Vivo Evaluation of a Microparticulate Depot Formulation of Buprenorphine for Veterinary Use. 2021, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.


Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/83501/

Downloads: Statistics Overview


Buprenorphine is a semisynthetic opioid derivative commonly used to ameliorate pain
in laboratory and companion animals after surgical interventions. While buprenorphine
is a highly potent analgesic agent, its potency for severe side effects like respiratory
depression is low. A major drawback however is buprenorphine’s short terminal
half-life of 3-5 hours in rodents, which necessitates repeated injections several times
per day. This leads to considerable stress and pain for animals through recurring
animal handling and increases workload for caretakers and researchers. Even though
alternative formulations and administration routes of buprenorphine for veterinary use
have been proposed, none of the suggested methods are devoid of drawbacks, side
effects or other problems associated with reliable pain alleviation. The aim of this work
was therefore to develop and characterize an easy to use, safe and effective depot
formulation of buprenorphine to prolong the analgesic effect.
Poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is one of the most studied synthetic polymers for
controlled release drug delivery. Its excellent biodegradable and biocompatible
characteristics make it a highly valuable excipient for sustained release applications.
This work proposes therefore a novel size-controlled PLGA based microparticulate
depot formulation for prolonged and controlled pain reduction. Different PLGA
polymers were used to produce various microparticulate buprenorphine formulations.
Characterization was done regarding size, morphology, drug load and in vitro release.
Lead formulation was identified as a product with a burst release of roughly 30% and
a controlled drug release of up to three days. Pharmacokinetic studies in naive, female,
adult C57BL/6J mice revealed fast onset of action and exposure above therapeutic
threshold of 1 ng/ml in plasma and brain for 12 and 72 hours, respectively
sustained-release formulation was further assessed with the hotplate assay. Thereby,
significant effect was shown for at least 24 hours in mice. Furthermore, analgesic effect
was evaluated after sham-ovariectomy, to simulate real-life surgical set-up. Mouse
Grimace Scale revealed that one injection of novel depot formulation was equivalent
to several injections of commercial non-retard formulation regarding pain alleviation
post-surgery. No side effects or impairments appraised by nest building behavior and
clinical parameters (e.g. body weight, food, and water intake) were identified after surgery.
Based on the duration of action and the capability to alleviate pain reliably
after surgical intervention without any side effects, this depot product is considered a
valuable alternative to commercial non-retard formulations.
Further evaluation of depot formulation revealed sensitivity of buprenorphine towards
X-rays during terminal sterilization process, necessitating aseptic manufacturing to
ensure sterility. Further characterization in terms of potential future industrial
production showed, that sustained-release formulation complies with requirements
regarding bacterial endotoxin burden, residual moisture levels, shelf life after
reconstitution and shelf life of final product. This work therefore indicates, that the
proposed manufacturing procedures allow for industrial production and future
A usage of buprenorphine depot formulation is therefore proposed as a safe and
effective product for prolonged pain management in laboratory mice.
Advisors:Huwyler, Jörg
Committee Members:Odermatt, Alex and Borchard, G.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Pharmazeutische Wissenschaften > Pharmazie > Pharmaceutical Technology (Huwyler)
UniBasel Contributors:Huwyler, Jörg and Odermatt, Alex
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:14239
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:128
Identification Number:
  • urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-bau-diss142399
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:10 Sep 2021 04:30
Deposited On:09 Sep 2021 06:49

Repository Staff Only: item control page