Preparation and characterization of intravaginal vardenafil suppositories targeting a complementary treatment to boostin vitrofertilization process

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Vaginal route has been recently considered as a potential route for systemic delivery of drugs with poor oral bioavailability. Vardenafil (VDF) is a relatively new phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor that exhibits a limited oral bioavailability (≈15%) due to extensive first-pass metabolism. In this study, we attempted to enhance the systemic bioavailability of VDF via its formulation within vaginal suppositories. Witepsol H15 and Suppocire NA50 were adopted as lipophilic suppository bases while polyethylene glycol 4000/400 and glycerogelatin were used as hydrophilic suppository bases. The effect of different base types and/or the incorporation of bioadhesive polymer on in vitro release of VDF were evaluated. The in vivo fate and organ biodistribution of VDF following intravaginal (IVG) administration were also investigated. VDF release from water-soluble bases was higher than that from lipophilic bases. The incorporation of bioadhesive polymers, such as Na alginate, remarkably sustained drug release from suppository base. The organ biodistribution study showed a higher Cmax (32 times) and AUC0–4 h (20 times) of VDF in uterus following IVG administration of conventional suppositories, compared to oral administration of VDF suspension. In addition, cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) serum levels, used as an indicator of the in vivo activity of VDF, in animals were higher following IVG administration rather than oral administration. This study suggests that IVG administration of VDF might represent a potential alternative to oral route with superior therapeutic benefits especially when targeting the uterus.

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