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AAPS PharmSciTech. 2008;9(2):684-92. doi: 10.1208/s12249-008-9089-x. Epub 2008 May 22.

Influence of incorporation methods on partitioning behavior of lipophilic drugs into various phases of a parenteral lipid emulsion.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of drug incorporation methods on the partitioning behavior of lipophilic drugs in parenteral lipid emulsions. Four lipophilic benzodiazepines, alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, and lorazepam, were used as model drugs. Two methods were used to incorporate drugs into an emulsion: dissolving the compound in the oil phase prior to emulsification (de novo emulsification), and directly adding a concentrated solution of drug in a solubilizer to the emulsion base (extemporaneous addition). Based on the molecular structures and determination of the oil and aqueous solubilities and the partition coefficients of the drugs, the lipophilicity was ranked as diazepam > clonazepam > lorazepam > alprazolam. Ultracentrifugation was used to separate the emulsion into four phases, the oil phase, the phospholipid-rich phase, the aqueous phase and the mesophase, and the drug content in each phase was determined. Partitioning of diazepam, which has the highest lipophilicity and oil solubility among the four drugs, was unaffected by the drug incorporation method, with both methods giving a high proportion of drug in the inner oil phase and the phospholipid-rich phase, compared to the aqueous phase and mesophase. Partitioning of the less lipophilic drugs (alprazolam, clonazepam, and lorazepam) in the phases of the emulsion system was dependent on the method of incorporation and the drug solubility properties. Emulsions of the three drugs prepared by de novo emulsification exhibited higher drug localization in the phospholipid-rich phase compared to those made by extemporaneous addition. With the latter method, the drugs tended to localize in the outer aqueous phase and mesophase, with less deposition in the phospholipid-rich phase and no partitioning into the inner oil phase.

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