Polysaccharides of natural, synthetic or semi-synthetic origin have been used from time immemorial in the development of drug delivery systems designed to achieve tailored and site-specific drug release. Starch-based polysaccharides derived from plants have been extensively studied in this regard. Natural polymeric excipients are preferred over their synthetic counterparts owing to their low cost, availability, biocompatibility, biodegradability and non-toxicity. The present review attempts to provide a new direction and a comprehensive insight on the physical properties, rheological behavior, toxicity profile, pharmaceutical applications, swelling behavior and drug diffusion kinetics from dosage forms based on non-starch polysaccharides of plant origin such as, psyllium, pectin, arabinoxylan, xyloglucan, guar gum galactomannan and konjac glucomannan. It has been observed from the current review that non-starch polysaccharides are safe for human consumption and can be successfully employed to deliver drugs specifically to stomach and colon in a sustained fashion. They have thus widened the scope of natural polymeric excipients and demand better industrial utilization on a commercial scale to minimize cost of production and to satisfy therapeutic needs in safe and effective manner.
non-starch polysaccharide, polymer blending, polymer grafting. gastroretentive, matrix tablet, mucoadhesive drug delivery, colon-specific drug delivery.