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Calcium hydroxyapatite ceramic used as a delivery system for antibiotics

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Porous blocks of calcium hydroxyapatite ceramic were evaluated as delivery systems for the sustained release of antibiotics. We tested gentamicin sulphate, cefoperazone sodium, and flomoxef sodium in powder form placed in a cylindrical cavity in calcium hydroxyapatite blocks, using in vitro studies of elution and in vivo studies in rats. Gentamicin sulphate gave a maximum concentration within the first week, which gradually decreased but was still effective at 12 weeks, when 70% of the antibiotic had been released. Even at this stage the antibiotic concentration from a 75 mg dose was five times the minimum inhibitory concentration for staphylococci. In the in vivo studies the release of gentamicin sulphate into the normal bone of rats was at similar rates and levels. The bacteriocidal activity of the drugs was not affected by packing into calcium hydroxyapatite ceramic and the blocks were completely biocompatible on histology. This new system overcomes the disadvantages of other drug delivery systems, avoiding thermal damage to the antibiotics and a second operation for the removal of the carrier. Some mechanical strength is provided by the ceramic and healing may be accelerated by bone ingrowth into its micropores.

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