Polymeric nanoparticle suspensions (NS) were prepared from poly(lactide-co-glycolide) and poly(lactide-co-glycolide-leucine) {poly[Lac(Glc-Leu)]} biodegradable polymers and loaded with diclofenac sodium (DS), with the aim of improving the ocular availability of the drug. NS were prepared by emulsion and solvent evaporation technique and characterized on the basis of physicochemical properties, stability, and drug release features. The nanoparticle system showed an interesting size distribution suitable for ophthalmic application. Stability tests (as long as 6 months’ storage at 5°C or at 25°C/60% relative humidity) or freeze-drying were carried out to optimize a suitable pharmaceutical preparation. In vitro release tests showed a extended-release profile of DS from the nanoparticles. To verify the absence of irritation toward the ocular structures, blank NS were applied to rabbit eye and a modified Draize test performed. Polymer nanoparticles seemed to be devoid of any irritant effect on cornea, iris, and conjunctiva for as long as 24 hours after application, thus apparently a suitable inert carrier for ophthalmic drug delivery. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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