3D-Printed Drug Delivery Systems: The Effects of Drug Incorporation Methods on Their Release and Antibacterial Efficiency
Additive manufacturing technologies have been widely used in the medical field. More specifically, fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D-printing technology has been thoroughly investigated to produce drug delivery systems. Recently, few researchers have explored the possibility of directly 3D printing such systems without the need for producing a filament which is usually the feedstock material for the printer. This was possible via direct feeding of a mixture consisting of the carrier polymer
... e carrier polymer and the required drug. However, as this direct feeding approach shows limited homogenizing abilities, it is vital to investigate the effect of the pre-mixing step on the quality of the 3D printed products. Our study investigates the two commonly used mixing approaches—solvent casting and powder mixing. For this purpose, polycaprolactone (PCL) was used as the main polymer under investigation and gentamicin sulfate (GS) was selected as a reference. The produced systems' efficacy was investigated for bacterial and biofilm prevention. Our data show that the solvent casting approach offers improved drug distribution within the polymeric matrix, as was observed from micro-computed topography and scanning electron microscopy visualization. Moreover, this approach shows a higher drug release rate and thus improved antibacterial efficacy. However, there were no differences among the tested approaches in terms of thermal and mechanical properties.