Mathematical Modeling of Drug Release from Biodegradable Polymeric Microneedles

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Bio-Design and Manufacturing

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Transdermal drug delivery systems have overcome many limitations of other drug administration routes, such as injection pain and first-pass metabolism following oral route, although transdermal drug delivery systems are limited to drugs with low molecular weight. Hence, new emerging technology allowing high molecular weight drug delivery across the skin—known as ‘microneedles’—has been developed, which creates microchannels that facilitate drug delivery. In this report, drug-loaded degradable conic microneedles are modeled to characterize the degradation rate and drug release profile. Since a lot of data are available for polylactic acid-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) degradation in the literature, PLGA of various molecular weights—as a biodegradable polymer in the polyester family—is used for modeling and verification of the drug delivery in the microneedles. The main reaction occurring during polyester degradation is hydrolysis of steric bonds, leading to molecular weight reduction. The acid produced in the degradation has a catalytic effect on the reaction. Changes in water, acid and steric bond concentrations over time and for different radii of microneedles are investigated. To solve the partial and ordinary differential equations simultaneously, finite difference and Runge–Kutta methods are employed, respectively, with the aid of MATLAB. Correlation of the polymer degradation rate with its molecular weight and molecular weight changes versus time are illustrated. Also, drug diffusivity is related to matrix molecular weight. The molecular weight reduction and accumulative drug release within the system are predicted. In order to validate and assess the proposed model, data series of the hydrolytic degradation of aspirin (180.16 Da)- and albumin (66,000 Da)-loaded PLGA (1:1 molar ratio) are used for comparison. The proposed model is in good agreement with experimental data from the literature. Considering diffusion as the main phenomena and autocatalytic effects in the reaction, the drug release profile is predicted. Based on our results for a microneedle containing drug, we are able to estimate drug release rates before fabrication.


Bio-Design and Manufacturing, Vol. 2 (2019): 96-107. DOI.