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Oral administration is a pillar of the pharmaceutical industry and yet it remains challenging to administer hydrophilic therapeutics by the oral route. Smart and controlled oral drug delivery could bypass the physiological barriers that limit the oral delivery of these therapeutics. Micro- and nanoscale technologies, with an unprecedented ability to create, control, and measure micro- or nanoenvironments, have found tremendous applications in biology and medicine. In particular, significant advances have been made in using these technologies for oral drug delivery. In this review, we briefly describe biological barriers to oral drug delivery and micro and nanoscale fabrication technologies. Micro and nanoscale drug carriers fabricated using these technologies, including bioadhesives, microparticles, micropatches, and nanoparticles, are described. Other applications of micro and nanoscale technologies are discussed, including fabrication of devices and tissue engineering models to precisely control or assess oral drug delivery in vivo and in vitro, respectively. Strategies to advance translation of micro and nanotechnologies into clinical trials for oral drug delivery are mentioned. Finally, challenges and future prospects on further integration of micro and nanoscale technologies with oral drug delivery systems are highlighted.

Original publication




Journal article


Adv Drug Deliv Rev

Publication Date





37 - 62


Drug delivery devices, Micro and nanocarriers, Micro and nanoscale technologies, Oral drug delivery, Tissue models, Administration, Oral, Animals, Drug Carriers, Drug Delivery Systems, Humans, Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions, Microspheres, Microtechnology, Nanoparticles, Nanotechnology, Pharmaceutical Preparations