Antibiotic Rods: New Patent in Curing Periodontal Disease


Researchers from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) developed new biodegradable rods (Antibiotic Rods) which promise to provide better treatment for periodontal disease. Researchers have recombined an already approved ingredient and filed for a patent for their invention together with two researchers from Fraunhofer Institutes, Halle for treating periodontal disease. This would spare patients from side effects. Their research paper has been published in the ‘International Journal of Pharmaceutics’. 1

What is Periodontal Disease and its Incidence?

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that results into bleeding from gums, gum enlargement and teeth mobility. In India, more than 60% of population suffers from periodontal disease. Since many years mechanical plaque removal is the most commonly used method in preventing periodontal disease. Chemical plaque controls utilised in the treatment of periodontal disease are –

  • mouth wash,
  • systemic administration of drugs as well as
  • locally administered drugs.

Why we need antibiotics in treating periodontal disease?

  • According to Professor Karsten Mäder, Head of the Institute of Pharmacy at MLU, the periodontal disease disturbs body’s defense barrier functions which allow more bacteria and their toxins to enter the body. This inflammation affects entire body and is often the cause of other diseases such as heart attacks and pneumonia. Therefore, mechanical plaque removal procedures are often followed by antibiotics.
  • Antibiotics are usually administered in the form of pills systemically which can lead to side effect sometimes like vomiting, nausea etc. Also it can lead to antibiotic resistance. That’s why, locally administered drugs came into action and are more preferred for treating periodontal disease.
  • For successful local delivery of drug in treating periodontal disease, stable and sustained release of antibiotic is essential.
  • Local drug delivery in treating periodontal pocket is not a new technique but it had limitations until now. But with invention of this new patented technique, local drug delivery is possible up to 42 days which is exceptional compared to other delivery methods available in the market. Other local drug delivery regiments shown up to 10-21 days of activity.
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What are Antibiotic Rods?

Mäder’s research group has developed a complex of minocycline and magnesium stearate. By utilising pharma-grade polymers researchers formulated flexible biodegradable rods containing antibiotics.

Advantages –

  • This is more stable and slowly releases antibiotic on the spot.
  • These rods are small and can be easily inserted inside the periodontal pocket.
  • As they are biodegradable they do not need to be removed from the pocket after treatment as compared to previous local drug delivery regiments.
  • Large scale production of these rods is possible.

Institutes & companies involved –

The patent for this complex of active ingredient formulations is applied together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems (IMWS), both in Halle, as well as with the Clinic for Dental Medicine at the University of Bern.

Mäder and Kirchberg each have a 30% stake in the invention, with the remaining 40% shared by scientists from the Fraunhofer Institutes in Halle and the University of Bern.

The further research and development of the formulation and its market launching will be done by PerioTrap Pharmaceticules GmbH, a start-up company founded by Fraunhofer IZI in Halle.

The project was funded by the State of Saxony-Anhalt with funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Transfer and High-Performance Centre Chemical and Biosystems Technology.


  1. Martin Kirchberg, Sigrun Eick, Mirko Buchholz, Andreas Kiesow, Sandra Sarembe, Karsten Mäder. Extrudates of Lipophilic Tetracycline Complexes: A New Option for Periodontitis Therapy. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2019; 118794
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Also checkout Probiotics in Periodontics


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