Bioavailability enhancement of itraconazole-based solid dispersions produced by hot melt extrusion in the framework of the Three Rs rule

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Solid dispersion formulations made of itraconazole (ITZ) and Soluplus® (polyethylene glycol, polyvinyl acetate and polyvinylcaprolactame-based graft copolymer abbreviated SOL) were produced using hot melt extrusion. Since ITZ possesses a water solubility of less than 1 ng/mL, the aim of this work was to enhance the aqueous solubility of ITZ, and thereby improve its bioavailability. The three formulations consisted of a simple SOL/ITZ amorphous solid dispersion (ASD), an optimized SOL/ITZ/AcDiSol® (super-disintegrant) ASD and an equimolar inclusion complex of ITZ in hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (substitution degree = 0.63, CD) with SOL. The three formulations were compared in vitro and in vivo to the marketed product Sporanox®. The in vitro enhancement of dissolution rate was evaluated using a biphasic dissolution test. In vitro dissolution results showed that all three formulations had a higher percentage of ITZ released than Sporanox® with the following ranking: SOL/ITZ/CD > SOL/ITZ/AcDiSol® > SOL/ITZ > Sporanox®. The bioavailability of these four formulations was evaluated in rats. The bioanalytical method was optimized so that only 10 μL of blood was withdrawn from the rats using specific volumetric absorptive microsampling devices. This enabled to keep the same rats during the whole study, which was in accordance with the Three Rs rules (reduction, refinement and replacement). Furthermore, this technique allowed the suppression of inter-individual variability. Higher Cmax and AUC were obtained after the administration of all three formulations compared to the levels after the use of Sporanox® as follows: SOL/ITZ/AcDiSol® > SOL/ITZ/CD > SOL/ITZ > Sporanox®. The inversion in the ranking between SOL/ITZ/CD and SOL/ITZ/AcDiSol® made impossible the establishment of an in vitro–vivo correlation. Indeed, very different release rates were obtained in vitro and in vivo for the two optimized formulations. These results suggest that ITZ would be protected inside the core of the SOL micelles even during the absorption step at the intestine, while some agents present in the intestinal fluids could displace ITZ from the hydrophobic cavity of CD by competition.

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