The focus of this review is to provide an overview of the chitosan based nanoparticles for various non-parenteral applications and also to put a spotlight on current research including sustained release and mucoadhesive chitosan dosage forms. Chitosan is a biodegradable, biocompatible polymer regarded as safe for human dietary use and approved for wound dressing applications. Chitosan has been used as a carrier in polymeric nanoparticles for drug delivery through various routes of administration. Chitosan has chemical functional groups that can be modified to achieve specific goals, making it a polymer with a tremendous range of potential applications. Nanoparticles (NP) prepared with chitosan and chitosan derivatives typically possess a positive surface charge and mucoadhesive properties such that can adhere to mucus membranes and release the drug payload in a sustained release manner. Chitosan-based NP have various applications in non-parenteral drug delivery for the treatment of cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, pulmonary diseases, drug delivery to the brain and ocular infections which will be exemplified in this review. Chitosan shows low toxicity both in vitro and some in vivo models. This review explores recent research on chitosan based NP for non-parenteral drug delivery, chitosan properties, modification, toxicity, pharmacokinetics and preclinical studies.
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