Buccal Tablet Administration

Buccal Tablet Administration: A Comprehensive Guide

Buccal tablet administration is a specialized method of drug delivery that offers several advantages over conventional routes, such as oral ingestion or injection. This article explores the concept of buccal tablets, their benefits, how they work, and the range of conditions they can be used to treat.

Introduction to Buccal Tablets:

Buccal tablets are a type of oral dosage form designed to be placed between the cheek and the gum (buccal mucosa) for drug absorption. They are small, flat, and usually dissolve or disintegrate quickly, releasing medication directly into the bloodstream through the highly vascularized oral mucosa. This administration route bypasses the digestive system and hepatic first-pass metabolism, resulting in faster onset of action and improved bioavailability for certain drugs.

Advantages of Buccal Tablet Administration:

  1. Rapid Onset of Action: Buccal tablets are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, leading to a faster onset of action compared to oral ingestion. This can be crucial in emergencies or for drugs requiring immediate effects.
  2. Avoids First-Pass Metabolism: The drug is absorbed through the buccal mucosa, avoiding the liver’s first-pass metabolism. This means a higher proportion of the drug reaches the systemic circulation intact, leading to increased bioavailability.
  3. Improved Patient Compliance: Buccal tablets are convenient and easy to administer, making them a patient-friendly option. They eliminate the need for swallowing large pills or receiving injections.
  4. Steady Drug Levels: Buccal administration can help maintain consistent drug levels in the bloodstream, reducing fluctuations that can occur with oral dosing.
  5. Reduced Gastrointestinal Side Effects: Since buccal tablets bypass the gastrointestinal tract, they can minimize side effects like nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal irritation associated with some medications.
  6. Suitable for Sensitive Compounds: Buccal administration is ideal for drugs that may be destroyed or altered by stomach acid or enzymes in the digestive system.

How Buccal Tablets Work ? or Working Principle of Buccal Tablets

Buccal tablets work by utilizing the rich blood supply in the oral mucosa to facilitate drug absorption. The process can be broken down into several key steps:

  1. Placement: The patient places the buccal tablet between the cheek and gum, typically on the side of the mouth. This allows the tablet to come into direct contact with the buccal mucosa.
  2. Disintegration/Dissolution: The tablet may disintegrate or dissolve, releasing the medication. Some buccal tablets are designed to release the drug slowly over time, while others are formulated for rapid dissolution.
  3. Absorption: The drug diffuses through the buccal mucosa and enters the bloodstream. This route provides a direct path to the systemic circulation, bypassing the digestive system and liver.
  4. Transport: The drug is carried by the bloodstream to its target site, where it exerts its therapeutic effects.

Conditions Treated with Buccal Tablets or Use of Buccal Tablets:

Buccal tablets are used to treat a wide range of conditions, and their versatility makes them suitable for various drug classes. Some common applications include:

  1. Pain Management: Buccal tablets are used for the rapid relief of pain, particularly in cases of breakthrough pain in cancer patients. Fentanyl buccal tablets are a notable example.
  2. Hormone Replacement Therapy: Hormone medications, such as estrogen and progesterone, can be administered via buccal tablets to manage menopausal symptoms.
  3. Cardiovascular Conditions: Some antihypertensive medications, such as nitroglycerin, can be administered buccally to manage angina and acute coronary syndrome.
  4. Motion Sickness: Scopolamine buccal tablets are used to prevent motion sickness.
  5. Smoking Cessation: Buccal nicotine tablets can help individuals quit smoking by providing a controlled source of nicotine to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
  6. Antiviral Medications: Some antiviral drugs for conditions like herpes can be administered buccally.
  7. Allergies: Buccal tablets containing allergen extracts are used for allergy desensitization therapy.
  8. Psychiatric Medications: Certain psychotropic medications are available in buccal tablet form for the treatment of conditions like schizophrenia.

Considerations for Buccal Tablet Administration:

While buccal tablets offer numerous advantages, there are important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Proper Placement: Patients should be instructed on the correct placement of buccal tablets to ensure optimal drug absorption. Tablets should be placed on the side with the least irritation.
  2. Saliva Interaction: Excessive saliva can interfere with drug absorption. Patients should avoid eating, drinking, or excessive talking while the tablet is in place.
  3. Buccal Mucosa Health: The condition of the buccal mucosa can affect drug absorption. Any conditions or lesions in the oral cavity should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
  4. Drug Characteristics: Not all drugs are suitable for buccal administration. Factors such as drug stability, solubility, and pH can influence suitability.
  5. Taste and Tolerance: Some patients may experience an unpleasant taste when using buccal tablets. Tolerance to the taste should be considered.

Examples of Buccal Tablets:

  1. Suboxone (Buprenorphine/Naloxone Buccal Film): Used for opioid dependence treatment, Suboxone buccal film is placed against the inside of the cheek, where it dissolves to deliver buprenorphine and naloxone.
  2. Zyprexa Zydis (Olanzapine): Olanzapine is available in an orally disintegrating buccal tablet form, providing an alternative for patients who have difficulty swallowing pills.
  3. Carmex (Lidocaine): Lidocaine buccal tablets are used for the management of oral pain, such as pain associated with mouth sores.
  4. Fentora (Fentanyl Buccal Tablet): Fentora is a potent opioid buccal tablet used for the management of breakthrough cancer pain.
  5. AndroGel (Testosterone Gel): While not a buccal tablet, AndroGel is a testosterone replacement therapy gel applied to the buccal mucosa (inside the mouth).
Buccal Tablet Administration


  • Buccal tablet administration is a valuable drug delivery method that offers rapid onset of action, improved bioavailability, and enhanced patient compliance.
  • It is suitable for a wide range of medications, including those used in pain management, hormone replacement therapy, and cardiovascular conditions.
  • When used correctly and with consideration of patient-specific factors, buccal tablets can provide an effective and convenient means of drug administration, contributing to better patient outcomes and quality of life.
  • Healthcare professionals should continue to explore and utilize this versatile drug delivery option in clinical practice.

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