Azithromycin (AZI) eye drops containing sodium hyaluronate (SH) were developed to improve the bioavailability of AZI. Interaction between AZI and SH in the AZI-SH formulation was investigated by differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray diffraction, and 1
H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy analyses. Moreover, advantages of using SH as an excipient were investigated by comparing physiological properties and pharmacokinetic behaviors of SH-containing AZI eye drops with that of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC)-containing formulation. In addition, safety of the developed AZI-SH eye drops was evaluated by in vitro 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-Thiazyl)-2, 5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide assay (MTT assay) and neutral red uptake assay as well as in vivo eye irritation test and acute toxicity test. The results indicated that AZI formed a complex with SH under a slightly acidic condition. The area under the curve (AUC) of AZI in SH-containing formulation was 1.58-fold higher (P
< 0.01) than that in HPMC-containing formulation due to the interaction between the amine group of AZI and the carboxyl group of SH, despite of the higher viscosity of HPMC-containing formulation. Safety evaluation showed that AZI-SH eye drops caused no obvious eye irritation and acute toxicity. In conclusion, the developed SH-containing AZI formulation possessing advantages of longer retention time and higher drug availability was a promising drug formulation for topical ocular therapy.
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