Oral controlled drug delivery has gathered tremendous attention over the years due to its many advantages over conventional dosage forms. Polymer-based matrices have become an integral part of the pharmaceutical industry. Hydrophilic matrices are capable of controlling the release of drug over an extended period of time. Hydrophilic polymers, especially the hydrophilic derivatives of cellulose ethers, are frequently used for these applications. Therefore, the objective of this review is to discuss the scientific and physicochemical aspects of these polymeric systems that can affect the drug release from such formulations.