A new study published in the Science Translational Medicine journal details a new long acting drug capsule that is used for Ivermectin–a drug commonly used to treat parasitic infection. Reportedly the pill can emit medicine up to 2 weeks after swallowing. It does this by its innovative star shaped 6 arm design. Doeses of the drug are loaded into each of the 6 arms. After it is swallowed, acid from the stomach slowly dissolves the outer later of the capsule. As this occurs, each of the 6 arms is allowed to expand and eventually dissolves overtime. The capsule itself is large enough to resist the forces of peristalsis and it stays in the stomach while the arms dissolve.
This cutting edge pill design could really help decrease the number of pills a patient needs to take for long term illness not only in a day but in a whole week! The implications for this pill design are enormous and hopefully further research will be underway to start making similar long acting pills for other long term diseases like HIV, anti-malaria, and TB to name a few.
Bellinger AM et al. Oral, ultra-long-lasting drug delivery: Application toward malaria elimination goals. Science Translational Medicine, November 2016