3D printed, controlled release, tritherapeutic tablet matrix for advanced anti-HIV-1 drug delivery

Purpose
A 3D-Bioplotter® was employed to 3D print (3DP) a humic acid-polyquaternium 10 (HA-PQ10) controlled release fixed dose combination (FDC) tablet comprising of the anti-HIV-1 drugs, efavirenz (EFV), tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and emtricitabine (FTC).

Methods
Chemical interactions, surface morphology and mechanical strength of the FDC were ascertained. In vitro drug release studies were conducted in biorelevant media followed by in vivo study in the large white pigs, in comparison with a market formulation, Atripla®. In vitro-in vivo correlation of results was undertaken.

Results
EFV, TDF and FTC were successfully entrapped in the 24-layered rectangular prism-shaped 3DP FDC with a loading of ∼12.5 mg/6.3 mg/4 mg of EFV/TDF/FTC respectively per printed layer. Hydrogen bonding between the EFV/TDF/FTC and HA-PQ10 was detected which was indicative of possible drug solubility enhancement. The overall surface of the tablet exhibited a fibrilla structure and the 90° inner pattern was determined to be optimal for 3DP of the FDC. In vitro and in vivo drug release profiles from the 3DP FDC demonstrated that intestinal-targeted and controlled drug release was achieved.

Conclusion
A 3DP FDC was successfully manufactured with the aid of a 3D-Bioplotter in a single step process. The versatile HA-PQ10 entrapped all drugs and achieved an enhanced relative bioavailability of EFV, TDF, and FTC compared to the market formulation for potentially enhanced HIV treatment.