Conventional chemotherapy of tuberculosis and leprosy requires rifampicin to be administered orally. The long period of treatment and adverse side effects of the drug lead to poor compliance. To overcome this, subdermal implants incorporating rifampicin in pure and micro-encapsulated forms with biodegradable material were used as a new drug delivery system in experimental tuberculosis of guinea pigs. Two experiments were performed with 45-mg and 100-mg drug implants. Progress of infection was followed at intervals by studying necropsy scores and weights of the organs of predilection and levels of the drug in the blood were determined. There was a constant and sustained release of the drug in therapeutic concentrations for 30 and 50 days until the implants were completely assimilated without causing any damage to the implant site. The importance of multiple implants at long intervals is discussed.


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