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Long-acting drug delivery has emerged as the novel and advanced drug delivery system which manipulate the dosing regimen of the drug in the body in order to sustain its therapeutic level.

Over the last two decades, the pharmaceutical industry has observed a paradigm shift from conventional drug delivery strategies to the long-acting drug delivery of products to treat several disease indications, such as ophthalmic disorders, oncological disorders, neurological disorders and infectious diseases. The long-acting delivery of drug candidates confers several advantages, such as improved patient compliance, reduced dosage requirement, better medication adherence, decrease in failure risk due to inconsistent usage and more convenience to patients. In addition, long acting drug delivery formulations can improve the chemical stability, solubility and polymorphic transformation issues of the active pharmaceutical ingredients.


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Lately, many technologies are being explored to develop long-acting drugs in various dosage formats, such as long-acting injectables, depot injections, implantable devices and combination products. The long-acting drug delivery technologies have come a long way with the inclusion of liposomes, microspheres and polymers for the fabrication of biodegradable and biocompatible delivery system. Apart from this, the interdependency of drug, excipient and release environment plays a crucial role to decide the release kinetics of the drug. Long-acting formulations are more patient compliant, in terms of sharp reduction in the dosing regimen. These drugs are administered infrequently (ranging from once weekly to yearly) owing to the prolonged drug release after a single shot.


The technological advancements for the long-acting profile of the drugs (small molecules, peptides, biologics) have led to the rise in number of novel therapeutics in the market along with the growing number of long-acting molecules in the clinical development pipeline. Of late, the demand for the availability of long-acting vaginal rings as multipurpose prevention technologies for women is also surfacing. Further, the pharmaceutical industry is extensively focusing on the development of long-acting injectables for protein-based drugs and multidrug therapies. Moreover, the potential of long acting injectables is being explored in several debilitating chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, blindness and HIV. Owing to the advanced LADD technologies, formulation and developmental challenges associated with these complex dosage forms, the reliability on the stakeholders having the expertise in this domain has upsurged. This will eventually aid the drug developers to address the bottlenecks stemming from conventional treatment options and improve the clinical outcome.


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