Magnus Eze, Enugu
A renowned professor of pharmacy at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Kenneth Ofokansi, has said that several novel oral drug therapeutic systems have been invented along with the appreciable development of drug delivery technology for the past three decades.
Prof. Ofokansi explained that although, these advanced drug delivery systems are manufactured or fabricated in traditional pharmaceutical formulations, such as tablets, capsules, sachets, suspensions, emulsions and solutions, they are superior to the conventional oral dosage forms in terms of their therapeutic efficacies, toxicities and stabilities.
The don who chairs the senate ceremonials committee of the UNN stated this recently, at the 140th inaugural lecture of the university, titled “Breaking the barriers to effective peroral drug delivery”, at the Princess Alexandra auditorium, Nsukka.
He submitted that based on the desired therapeutic objectives, the modern oral drug distribution systems may be assorted into three categories – the immediate – release preparations, controlled – released preparations and targeted – release preparations; pointing out that the immediate – release preparations are primarily intended to achieve faster onset of action for drugs such as analgesic, antipyretics and coronary vasodilators.
He noted that other advantages of the system included enhanced oral bioavailability through transmucosal delivery and pregastric absortions, convenience in drug administration to dysphagic patients, especially the elderly and bedridden.
According to Ofokansi, in the last four and half decades, “the area of peroral drug delivery has undergone unprecedented changes, this transition has been mainly driven by the increased understanding of pharmaceutical and biological constraints at the molecular / atomic level, increased generation of drug candidates and emergence of several advanced technologies”.
Prof. Ofokansi, who is fondly addressed as the doyen of pharmacy by the academia, said that overall, this area had made significant technological advances, not only in drug delivery aspects but also in various processing (fabrication) technologies, adding that it was therefore anticipated that current trends in peroral delivery would bring the much-awaited revolution in the delivery of therapeutic agents, particularly biotechnology-based molecules.
He made it clear that the purpose of any drug delivery system was to enhance or facilitate the action of therapeutic compounds, stressing that it should now be apparent that conventional drug delivery systems are associated with a number of limitations which can reduce drug efficacy.
He further threw weight behind the patriotic call on government at all levels to take the issue of providing funds for the establishment of specialized reference laboratories in the universities very seriously if Nigeria must take a leap forward to join the league of innovation-driven and developing economies of the world.
In his remarks, vice chancellor of UNN, Prof. Chukwuma Ozumba, re-affirmed the commitment of management of the institution to relentlessly invest on research and expressed joy that UNN was now ranked as the best university in Nigeria.