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Parylene Coatings in Drug Containment and Elution Technologies

Parylene [poly (para-xylylene)] is a thin, continuous, inert, transparent, biocompatible conformal coating. It is applied in room temperature vacuum deposition chamber by a process known as vapor deposition polymerization (VDP). The coating process involves the spontaneous re-sublimation of a vapor formed by heating a powdered, dry precursor material. The vapor converts to an inert polymer coating on target surfaces in a dry, solvent and catalyst-free process. Parylene provides useful barrier properties per unit thickness, as well as extreme chemical inertness and freedom from extractables or leachables. The coating itself is also free of catalytic, solvent and plasticizer residuals. Parylene has been widely used to eliminate problems related to lubricity, microporosity, biocompatibility, and biofluid corrosion protection in medical devices for over 30 years. In recent years, it is being used as a bonding, or tie layer, in the production of coronary stents. It is also used to protect containers and pharmaceuticals as well as to control the elution rates of drugs. To understand the unique properties that make it so useful in these applications, it is important to understand the characteristics that make Parylene so well suited for in vivo applications.

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