Development of a solidified self-microemulsifying drug delivery system (S-SMEDDS) for atorvastatin calcium with improved dissolution and bioavailability

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Graphical abstractTo improve the dissolution and oral bioavailability (BA) of atorvastatin calcium (ATV), we previously introduced an optimized self-microemulsifying drug delivery system (SMEDDS) using Capmul® MCM (oil), Tween® 20 (surfactant), and tetraglycol (cosurfactant). In this study, various solid carriers were employed to develop a solidified SMEDDS (S-SMEDDS): mannitol (M) and lactose (L) as water-soluble carriers, and Sylysia® 350 (S) and Aerosil® 200 (A) as water-insoluble carriers. Maximum solidifying capacities (SCmax) of water-insoluble carriers were significantly greater than those of water-soluble carriers were. The resultant powders were free flowing with an angle of repose <40° and Carr's index 5–20%, regardless of the solid carrier types. S-SMEDDS with mannitol (S(M)-SMEDDS) or lactose (S(L)-SMEDDS) had a smaller droplet size and greater dissolution than S-SMEDDS with Sylysia® 350 (S(S)-SMEDDS) or Aerosil® 200 (S(A)-SMEDDS). Following oral administration of various formulations to rats at a dose equivalent to 25 mg/kg of ATV, plasma drug levels were measured by LC–MS/MS. The relative BAs (RBAs) of SMEDDS, S(M)-SMEDDS, and S(S)-SMEDDS were 345%, 216%, and 160%, respectively, compared to that of ATV suspension. Additionally, at a reduced dose of ATV equivalent to 5 mg/kg, the RBAs of S(M)-SMEDDS and S(S)-SMEDDS compared to that of SMEDDS were 101% and 65%, respectively. These results suggest that S(M)-SEMDDS offers great potential for the development of solid dosage forms with improved oral absorption of drugs with poor water solubility.

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