Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences (2020-05-01)

Enhanced intestinal lymphatic absorption of saquinavir through supersaturated self-microemulsifying drug delivery systems

  • Kanghee Jo,
  • Hyeongmin Kim,
  • Prakash Khadka,
  • Taejun Jang,
  • Soo Jin Kim,
  • Seong-Ha Hwang,
  • Jaehwi Lee

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 15, no. 3
pp. 336 – 346


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The therapeutic potential of saquinavir, a specific inhibitor of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 and HIV-2 protease enzymes, has been largely limited because of a low solubility and consequnt low bioavailability. Thus, we aimed to design a supersaturated self-microemulsifying drug delivery system (S-SMEDDS) that can maintain a high concentration of saquinavir in gastro-intestinal fluid thorugh inhibiting the drug precipitation to enhance the lymphatic transport of saquinavir and to increase the bioavailability of saquinavir considerably. Solubilizing capacity of different oils, surfactants, and cosurfactants for saquinavir was evaluated to select optimal ingredients for preparation of SMEDDS. Through the construction of pseudo-ternary phase diagram, SMEDDS formulations were established. A polymer as a precipitation inhibitor was selected based on its viscosity and drug precipitation inhibiting capacity. The S-SMEDDS and SMEDDS designed were administered at an equal dose to rats. At predetermined time points, levels of saquinavir in lymph collected from the rats were assessed. SMEDDS prepared presented a proper self-microemulsification efficiency and dispersion stability. The S-SMEDDS fabricated using the SMEDDS and hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose 2910 as a precipitation inhibitor exhibited a signficantly enhanced solubilizing capacity for saquinavir. The drug concentration in a simulated intestinal fluid evaluated with the S-SMEDDS was also maintained at higher levels for prolonged time than that examined with the SMEDDS. The S-SMEDDS showed a considerably enhanced lymphatic absoprtion of saquinavir in rats compared to the SMEDDS. Therefore, the S-SMEDDS would be usefully exploited to enhance the lymphatic absorption of hydrophobic drugs that need to be targeted to the lymphatic system.