Novel nano-cellulose excipient for generating non-Newtonian droplets for targeted nasal drug delivery

Paul M. Young, Daniela Traini, Hui Xin Ong, Angelo Granieri, Bing Zhu, Santo Scalia, Jie Song, Patrick T. Spicer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Thickening polymers have been used as excipients in nasal formulations to avoid nasal run-off (nasal drip) post-administration. However, increasing the viscosity of the formulation can have a negative impact on the quality of the aerosols generated. Therefore, the study aims to investigate the use of a novel smart nano-cellulose excipient to generate suitable droplets for nasal drug delivery that simultaneously has only marginally increased viscosity while still reducing nasal drips.

Methods: Nasal sprays containing nano-cellulose at different concentrations were investigated for the additive’s potential as an excipient. The formulations were characterized for their rheological and aerosol properties. This was then compared to conventional nasal spray formulation containing the single-component hydroxyl-propyl methyl cellulose (HPMC) viscosity enhancing excipient.

Results: The HPMC-containing nasal formulations behave in a Newtonian manner while the nano-cellulose formulations have a yield stress and shear-thinning properties. At higher excipient concentrations and shear rates, the nano-cellulose solutions have significantly lower viscosities compared to the HPMC solution, resulting in improved droplet formation when actuated through conventional nasal spray.

Conclusions: Nano-cellulose materials could potentially be used as a suitable excipient for nasal drug delivery, producing consistent aerosol droplet size, and enhanced residence time within the nasal cavity with reduced run-offs compared to conventional polymer thickeners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1729-1733
Number of pages5
JournalDrug Development and Industrial Pharmacy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • nasal delivery
  • nasal spray
  • polymer thickeners
  • nanocellulose
  • excipient
  • HPMC
  • rheology


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