Early studies indicated that pellet density affected small intestinal transit in ileostomy patients41, although subsequent studies were unable to confirm this finding in normal subjects16 42. A further scintigraphic study eventually confirmed that small intestinal transit in patients with ileostomies was not affected by density in the range 0.94 to 1.96 g cm-3 (Figure 6.11)43. Standard sized units (1.18-1.40 mm) of density 1.5, 2.0 and 2.4 g cm-3 administered to healthy volunteers all had similar small intestinal transit times44.
Small particles with densities close to that of a meal will be emptied continuously with the meal21 45. This means that, for a well designed enteric coated multiparticulate formulation, there is little delay in the onset of plasma levels even when the drug is given with food. As has been discussed previously, buoyant materials and ultra-dense materials do show a slowed gastric emptying. This of course will affect the time course for which they are presented to the small intestine.
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