The sorption of ibuprofen by modified natural zeolite composites at three concentration levels (10, 20 and 30 mmol/100 g) of cationic surfactants – benzalkonium chloride and cetylpyridinium chloride, in a buffer solution (pH 7.4), was studied. Characterization of the composites before and after ibuprofen sorption was performed by drug sorption and isotherm studies, zeta potential and Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopic analysis. The biopharmaceutical performance of cationic surfactant-modified zeolites as drug formulation excipients was evaluated by in vitro dissolution experiments from the composites with medium surfactant contents. The drug sorption was influenced by the surfactant type and amount used for the zeolite modification. Prolonged drug release over a period of 8 h (up to ∼40%) was achieved with both groups of samples. The kinetic analysis showed that the drug release profiles were best fitted with the Higuchi and the Bhaskar models, indicating a combination of drug diffusion and ion exchange as the predominant release mechanisms.

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