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J Pharm Pharmacol. 1989 Jun;41(6):415-7.

Bioavailability of intramuscular vitamin E acetate in rabbits.

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  • 1Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, Instituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milano, Italy.


The bioavailability of alpha-tocopherol acetate and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) was assessed in male rabbits given 50 mg kg-1 doses according to a randomized design. After intramuscular injection of alpha-tocopherol acetate in colloidal aqueous solution, a mean absolute bioavailability of 65% was calculated for the acetate and 35% for the physiologically active compound, alpha-tocopherol. Comparison of the kinetic profiles after intravenous and intramuscular administration of the acetate and intravenous injection of alpha-tocopherol, revealed absorption of alpha-tocopherol acetate from the site of injection and hydrolysis of the acetate to be potential limiting steps in the bioavailability of alpha-tocopherol. Intramuscularly injected alpha-tocopherol acetate in olive oil (the only formulation available in a few European countries) proved completely bio-unavailable. It thus appears necessary to re-assess the utility of current vitamin E supplementation, since the only formulations available offer poor bioavailability.

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