Mathematical modeling of drug release can be very helpful to speed up product development and to better understand the mechanisms controlling drug release from advanced delivery systems. Ideally, in silico simulations can quantitatively predict the impact of formulation and processing parameters on the resulting drug release kinetics. The aim of this article is to give an overview on the current state of the art of modeling drug release from delivery systems, which are predominantly controlled by diffusional mass transport. The inner structure of the device, the ratio "initial drug concentration:drug solubility" as well as the device geometry determine which type of mathematical equation must be applied. A straightforward "road map" is given, explaining how to identify the appropriate equation for a particular type of drug delivery system. The respective equations for a broad range of devices are indicated, including reservoir and matrix systems, exhibiting or not an initial excess of drug and the geometry of slabs, spheres and cylinders. The assumptions the models are based on as well as their limitations are pointed out. Practical examples illustrate the usefulness of mathematical modeling of diffusion controlled drug delivery. Due to the advances in information technology the importance of in silico optimization of advanced drug delivery systems can be expected to significantly increase in the future.
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