The gastrointestinal transit of pharmaceutical dosage forms has been measured in 201 studies in normal subjects using gamma scintigraphy. Solutions, small pellets, and single units (matrix tablets and osmotic pumps) were administered with different amounts of food in the stomach, ranging from fasted state to heavy breakfast. Gastric emptying was affected by the nature of the dosage form and the presence of food in the stomach. Solutions and pellets were emptied even when the stomach was in the digestive mode, while single units were retained for long periods of time, depending on the size of the meal. In contrast, measured intestinal transit times were independent of the dosage form and fed state. The small intestinal transit time of about three hours (mean +/- 1 h SEM) has implications for the design of dosage forms for the sustained release of drugs in specific positions in the gastrointestinal tract.
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