Buccal Drug Delivery System

Buccal drug delivery systems can be defined as the administration of the drug via the buccal mucosa (the lining of the cheek and area between the gums and upper and lower lips) to the systemic circulation.


In the buccal route, the medicament is placed between the cheek and the gum for local or systemic action. In the buccal route, rapid absorption of the drug occurs with no first-pass hepatic metabolism and no degradation of drugs.

Advantages of Buccal Drug Delivery System

  • Drug absorption through the buccal epithelial lining of the oral cavity (mucosa of the cheek) for local or systemic action.
  • Ease and convenience of dosing.
  • Precise localization.
  • Increased permeability of the buccal mucosa compared to other transepithelial routes.
  • The rich supply of blood vessels and lymphatics in the buccal mucosa results in rapid onset of drug action.
  • Drugs absorbed from the buccal mucosa may directly enter the systemic circulation by way of the jugular vein, minimizing the first-pass liver metabolism.
  • Minimize the gastric acid or enzyme-mediated degradation.
  • When compared to other mucosal delivery routes, buccal drug delivery offers a higher degree of control and reproducibility.

Disadvantages of Buccal Drug Delivery System

  • Drug transport is by passive diffusion
  • Drug absorption is low, which results in low bioavailability.
  • Buccal mucosa, like the small intestine, offers a lipoidal barrier and this route is usually practical for small lipophilic molecules.
  • Only a few hydrophilic drugs or compounds such as certain amino acids and monosaccharides have been reported to be transported via a carrier-mediated process.
  • Taste masking may be necessary for drugs that are bitter or irritable.
  • The total area for drug absorption is small (100 to 170 cm2) when compared to the total area of gastrointestinal absorption.
  • The dosage form must be kept in place for effective absorption because salivary flow may wash away the dissolved drug and the dosage form may be swallowed before drug dissolution.

Anatomy of Buccal Drug Delivery System

buccal drug delivery system
Buccal Drug Delivery System

Ideal features

  • Non-toxic, non-irritant.
  • Good spreadability, wetting, swelling, solubility & biodegradable if possible.
  • Adhesion should be quick & with sufficient mechanical strength.
  • Should have peel, tensile, shear strength.
  • Should easily incorporate drug in formulation & it should not be an obstacle in drug release.
  • Cost-effective.

Various formulations

  • Buccal Film
  • Buccal Strip                        
  • Buccal Patch
  • Buccal Tablets
  • Buccal Spray            
  • Buccal Gels

Buccal Patch/Strip/Film

  • Buccal patches have been evaluated over the past several decades as a viable means of drug delivery to the tissues of the oral mucosa (i.e., buccal, palatal, and gingival tissues).
  • Buccal adhesive patches are generally modified-release dosage forms that have the potential to provide for controlled drug delivery from 1 to 24 hours depending upon their biopharmaceutical and dissolution characteristics (i.e. Slow dissolving vs. non-dissolving).

Buccal Sprays

  • Offer a Metered-dose as an alternative to the use of needles for injections.

Buccal Gel

  • The gel-forming bioadhesive polymers include crosslinked polyacrylic acid that has been used to adhere to mucosal surfaces for extended periods and provide a controlled release of drugs.
  • Buccal bioadhesive semisolid dosage forms consist of finely powdered natural or synthetic polymer dispersed in polyethylene or an aqueous solution.
  • Hydrophilic matrices that are capable of swelling when placed in aqueous media.
  • Release the drug by swelling allowing drug transport through the spaces in the polymer network, Polyacrylic-based hydrogels.
  • Glucagon-like insulin tropic peptide gel; Chitosan glutamate buccal hydrogel with local anesthetic activity.


  • Used for the delivery of drugs that act topically within the mouth including Antimicrobials, Corticosteroids, Local anesthetics, Antibiotics, Antifungals.
Make sure you also check our other amazing Article on : Composition and Function of Saliva
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