Current research in the field of drug delivery devices, by which pulsed and/or pulsatile release is achieved, has been intensified. In this article several types of drug delivery systems using hydrogels are discussed that showed pulsed and/or pulsatile drug delivery characteristics. As is frequently found in the living body, many vital functions are regulated by pulsed or transient release of bioactive substances at a specific site and time. Thus it is important to develop new drug delivery devices to achieve pulsed delivery of a certain amount of drugs in order to mimic the function of the living systems, while minimizing undesired side effects. Special attention has been given to the thermally responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and its derivative hydrogels. Thermal stimuli-regulated pulsed drug release is established through the design of drug delivery devices, hydrogels, and micelles. Development of modified alginate gel beads with pulsed drug delivery characteristic is also described in this article. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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