Oil-in-water microemulsions stabilized by 3-(N,N- dimethylalkylammonio)propanesulfonate surfactants of varying alkyl chain length: Solubilisation of testos-terone propionate

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Solubilisation of the poorly-water soluble drug, testosterone propionate, in co-surfactant-free, dilutable, oil-in-water microemulsions stabilized by zwitterionic surfactants of varying alkyl chain length, namely 3-(N,N-dimethyloctylammonio)propanesulfonate and 3-(N,N-dimethyldodecylammonio)propanesulfonate and containing one of four ethyl ester oils, has been investigated. Both 3-(N,N-dimethyloctylammonio)propanesulfonate and 3-(N,N-dimethyldodecylammonio)propanesulfonate-stabilized microemulsions containing two short chain length oils, ethyl butyrate and ethyl caprylate, while only 3-(N,N-dimethyldodecylammonio)propanesulfonate formed microemulsions incorporating the longer chain length oils, ethyl palmitate and ethyl oleate, albeit to a very much reduced extent. Significantly the microemulsions containing the short chain length oils, ethyl butyrate and ethyl caprylate solubilised more testosterone propionate than the corresponding micelles. However, an inverse correlation existed between testosterone propionate solubility in the bulk oil and solubilisation in the microemulsions, in that ethyl caprylate containing microemulsions solubilised more testosterone propionate than those containing an equivalent amount of ethyl butyrate, despite the drug being more soluble in ethyl butyrate. These results suggest that drug solubility in bulk oil is a poor indicator of drug solubility in microemulsions containing that oil, and whether or not the addition of oil improves drug solubility is dependent upon on how it is incorporated within the microemulsion. The longer the chain length of the oil, the more likely the oil is to form a core in the microemulsion droplet, resulting in an additional locus of drug solubilisation and the possibility of an enhanced solubilisation capacity.

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