Solubilisation behaviour of poorly water-soluble drugs during digestion of solid SMEDDS

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Lipid based-formulations can enhance the bioavailability of poorly water-soluble lipophilic drugs through enhanced solubilisation of drugs in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract during digestion. This study investigates the solubilisation behaviour of poorly water-soluble drugs upon digestion of solid self-microemulsifying drug delivery system (S-SMEDDS). The S-SMEDDS were prepared using two different core lipids, Gelucire® 44/14 (GEL) or glyceryl monooleate (GMO), and were loaded with two model drugs, fenofibrate (FEN) and cinnarizine (CINN). S-SMEDDS formulations were characterized using wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) and Raman spectroscopy, and their structural behaviour and drug solubilisation behaviour were monitored using drug-related diffraction peaks during digestion under fasted and fed simulated intestinal conditions using time-resolved small and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS). The concentrations of FEN and CINN released into the aqueous phase (AP) during digestion were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Both model drugs, FEN and CINN, had greater solubility in the GMO-based S-SMEDDS formulations and were partially solubilised into lipid matrix and uniformly distributed in solid formulations. The extent of digestion was greater for the GEL-based systems (92–94%) than GMO-based systems (65–75%) as was the rate of digestion. GEL-based S-SMEDDS formulations formed a lamellar phase during digestion in the fasted state and formed mixed micelles in the fed state. In contrast, the GMO-based system formed the mixed micelles in both intestinal conditions. The time-resolved SAXS profiles revealed solubilisation of crystalline drugs into the lipolysis products. Synchrotron SAXS results were in correlation with the HPLC measurements, confirming the ability of the SAXS technique to monitor drug behaviour and showing that the digestion of S-SMEDDS can enhance drug solubilisation.

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