What is Sublingual Drug Delivery?
Sublingual literally means – under the tongue.
Sublingual drug delivery refers to the mode of delivering a drug between under the tongue and the floor of the mouth.
It is a novel method discovered in 1847 when Nitroglycerin was placed under the tongue resulting in an intense headache lasting hours. To this day Nitroglycerin is administered sublingually to treat angina.
The standard journey of a tablet
Taking a tablet or capsule results in the medication breaking down in the stomach and absorbing in the GUT. Absorption can vary between people as a result of variations in stomach acid, digestive enzymes and the microbiome (bacteria) in the GUT.
Once the medication has been absorbed in the GUT it is then transferred straight to the liver. The liver monitors the contents of the blood and removes many potentially toxic substances before they can reach the rest of the body. Enzymes in the liver metabolise many of these toxins such as alcohol and drugs into their inactive metabolites.
The metabolised medication then travels to the rest of the body to exert its desired effect before it is excreted by the kidneys. Unfortunately, some drugs are metabolised to totally inactive compounds, whilst others only have a fraction of the activity of the parent drug.
Benefits of delivering a drug sublingually
The beauty of sublingual delivery is that both the GUT and the liver are bypassed. This eliminates any variation in absorption and any metabolism before it reaches its desired site of action.
The mucosa (skin) in the the sublingual area is also highly permeable to drugs resulting in greater amount of drug being absorbed.
Other benefits include;
- Easy to administer
- No issues taking with or without food
- Fast onset of action – rapidly absorbed into the blood stream
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Harley – It’s all about innovation
At Harley we have our own lab where we formulate and test all of our own products. It is all about innovation. We are able to change dosage forms (how a drug is administered) and manipulate the strength and combination of active ingredients through modern pharmaceutical techniques.
Sublingual drug delivery is just one method we use in our lab to take advantage of what we know about a particular active ingredient.
If you would like to know more about what we can do – speak with one of our pharmacists on 1300 29 77 33