No more tough pills to swallow

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Taking medicine can be a tough pill to swallow – literally.

For people who have difficulty swallowing – including children, older adults, or those with severe nausea – taking pills can be a high-stress, sometimes impossible method of drug delivery. And while liquid medication can sometimes be a substitute, dosing can be less precise with liquids than with pills.

Plus, any medication that has to go through the digestive system can lose significant amounts of its active ingredients, and can cause unwanted effects on the liver and other organs.

Now, two McMaster researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology have paired up with Rapid Dose Therapeutics, a drug delivery technology company, to develop a different way to administer medication: a thin film that dissolves in the mouth, bypassing the digestive system and delivering drugs quickly into the bloodstream.

Rapid Dose makes QuickStrip, a product similar to dissolvable mouthwash strips, but delivering much more than just fresh breath. QuickStrip is currently available as a variety of supplements, including vitamin B12, caffeine and melatonin.

With this new partnership, the researchers hope to expand the types of drugs that can be delivered via QuickStrip.

“I am delighted by the opportunity to partner with RDT on this important project, which aims to significantly expand the drug repertoire deliverable using QuickStrip technology,” says principal investigator Alex Adronov. “It is a challenging endeavour, however, one that promises to expand our options for pharmaceutical delivery.”

The project, which will be led by Adronov and co-investigator Harald Stover, has received an NSERC Collaborative Research and Development grant worth $540,000 over three years.

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