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Intranasal brain-targeted clonazepam polymeric micelles for immediate control of status epilepticus: in vitro optimization, ex vivo determination of cytotoxicity, in vivo biodistribution and pharmacodynamics studies.


Clonazepam (CZ) is an anti-epileptic drug used mainly in status epilepticus (SE). The drug belongs to Class II according to BCS classification with very limited solubility and high permeability and it suffers from extensive first-pass metabolism. The aim of the present study was to develop CZ-loaded polymeric micelles (PM) for direct brain delivery allowing immediate control of SE. PM were prepared via thin film hydration (TFH) technique adopting a central composite face-centered design (CCFD). The seventeen developed formulae were evaluated in terms of entrapment efficiency (EE), particle size (PS), polydispersity index (PDI), zeta potential (ZP), and in vitro release. For evaluating the in vivo behavior of the optimized formula, both biodistrbution using (99m)Tc-radiolabeled CZ and pharmacodynamics studies were done in addition to ex vivo cytotoxicty. At a drug:Pluronic® P123:Pluronic® L121 ratio of 1:20:20 (PM7), a high EE, ZP, Q8h, and a low PDI was achieved. The biodistribution studies revealed that the optimized formula had significantly higher drug targeting efficiency (DTE = 242.3%), drug targeting index (DTI = 144.25), and nose-to-brain direct transport percentage (DTP = 99.30%) and a significant prolongation of protection from seizures in comparison to the intranasally administered solution with minor histopathological changes. The declared results reveal the ability of the developed PM to be a strong potential candidate for the emergency treatment of SE.