A Low-Cost Method for Measuring the Permeability of a Pharmaceutical Drug in a Diffusion Cell

Megan Kitson, Heather N Sheppard, Joanne C Morris, Nicola Marie Howarth, Arno Manfred Kraft

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A low-cost, in vitro laboratory experiment has been developed that mimics the absorption of a pharmaceutical drug in the body. It allows undergraduate chemistry students to gain experience in the measurement of drug permeability coefficients, a key indicator used by the pharmaceutical industry to identify
the ease of absorption of any new drug candidate. The experiment requires a diffusion cell, coated membrane, peristaltic pump and UV-Vis spectrophotometer. The method has been validated by determining the permeability coefficients for a selection of acidic, basic and non-ionizable drugs. Using this assay, it is possible to classify drugs as exhibiting high or low permeability in a fast, facile and reliable manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-313
Number of pages4
JournalChemical Educator
Early online date20 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry; Pharmaceutical Drugs
  • UV-Vis Spectroscopy
  • Upper-Division Undergraduate
  • Permeability
  • Pharmaceutical Analysis

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