Colonic drug delivery: Formulating the next generation of colon-targeted therapeutics

Laura E. McCoubrey, Alessia Favaron, Atheer Awad, Mine Orlu, Simon Gaisford, Abdul W. Basit

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Colonic drug delivery can facilitate access to unique therapeutic targets and has the potential to enhance drug bioavailability whilst reducing off-target effects. Delivering drugs to the colon requires considered formulation development, as both oral and rectal dosage forms can encounter challenges if the colon's distinct physiological environment is not appreciated. As the therapeutic opportunities surrounding colonic drug delivery multiply, the success of novel pharmaceuticals lies in their design. This review provides a modern insight into the key parameters determining the effective design and development of colon-targeted medicines. Influential physiological features governing the release, dissolution, stability, and absorption of drugs in the colon are first discussed, followed by an overview of the most reliable colon-targeted formulation strategies. Finally, the most appropriate in vitro, in vivo, and in silico preclinical investigations are presented, with the goal of inspiring strategic development of new colon-targeted therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1126
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Early online date24 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2023


  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Drug delivery systems and the large intestine
  • Gastrointestinal microbiota and microbiome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease and drug products
  • Oral biologics and biopharmaceuticals
  • Targeting the colon
  • Administration, Oral
  • Biological Availability
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Colon
  • Drug Delivery Systems


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