A review of multi-responsive membranous systems for rate-modulated drug delivery.
Membrane technology is broadly applied in the medical field. The ability of membranous systems to effectively control the movement of chemical entities is pivotal to their significant potential for use in both drug delivery and surgical/medical applications. An alteration in the physical properties of a polymer in response to a change in environmental conditions is a behavior that can be utilized to prepare 'smart' drug delivery systems. Stimuli-responsive or 'smart' polymers are polymers that upon exposure to small changes in the environment undergo rapid changes in their microstructure. A stimulus, such as a change in pH or temperature, thus serves as a trigger for the release of drug from membranous drug delivery systems that are formulated from stimuli-responsive polymers. This article has sought to review the use of stimuli-responsive polymers that have found application in membranous drug delivery systems. Polymers responsive to pH and temperature have been extensively addressed in this review since they are considered the most important stimuli that may be exploited for use in drug delivery, and biomedical applications such as in tissue engineering. In addition, dual-responsive and glucose-responsive membranes have been also addressed as membranes responsive to diverse stimuli.