A propofol microemulsion with low free propofol in the aqueous phase: Formulation, physicochemical characterization, stability and pharmacokinetics

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The purpose of this study was to develop a propofol microemulsion with a low concentration of free propofol in the aqueous phase. Propofol microemulsions were prepared based on single-factor experiments and orthogonal design. The optimal microemulsion was evaluated for pH, osmolarity, particle size, zeta potential, morphology, free propofol in the aqueous phase, stability, and pharmacokinetics in beagle dogs, and comparisons made with the commercial emulsion, Diprivan®. The pH and osmolarity of the microemulsion were similar to those of Diprivan®. The average particle size was 22.6 ± 0.2 nm, and TEM imaging indicated that the microemulsion particles were spherical in appearance. The concentration of free propofol in the microemulsion was 21.3% lower than that of Diprivan®. Storage stability tests suggested that the microemulsion was stable long-term under room temperature conditions. The pharmacokinetic profile for the microemulsion showed rapid distribution and elimination compared to Diprivan®. We conclude that the prepared microemulsion may be clinically useful as a potential carrier for propofol delivery.

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