In vitro release testing methods for drug-releasing vaginal rings

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



Drug-releasing vaginal rings are torus-shaped devices, generally fabricated from thermoplastic polymers or silicone elastomers, used to administer pharmaceutical drugs to the human vagina for periods typically ranging from three weeks to twelve months. One of the most important product performance tests for vaginal rings is the in vitro release test. Although it has been fifty years since a vaginal ring device was first described in the scientific literature, and despite seven drug-releasing vaginal rings having been approved for market, there is no universally accepted method for testing in vitro drug release, and only one non-compendial shaking incubator method (for the estradiol-releasing ring Estring®) is described in the US Food and Drug Administration's Dissolution Methods Database. Here, for the first time, we critically review the diverse range of test methods that have been described in the scientific literature for testing in vitro release of drug-releasing vaginal rings. Issues around in vitro-in vivo correlation and modelling of in vitro release data are also discussed.