Influence of physiological gastrointestinal surfactant ratio on the equilibrium solubility of BCS class II drugs investigated using a four component mixture design

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The absorption of poorly water-soluble drugs is influenced by the luminal gastrointestinal fluid content and composition, which control solubility. Simulated intestinal fluids have been introduced into dissolution testing including endogenous amphiphiles and digested lipids at physiological levels; however, in vivo individual variation exists in the concentrations of these components, which will alter drug absorption through an effect on solubility. The use of a factorial design of experiment and varying media by introducing different levels of bile, lecithin, and digested lipids has been previously reported, but here we investigate the solubility variation of poorly soluble drugs through more complex biorelevant amphiphile interactions. A four-component mixture design was conducted to understand the solubilization capacity and interactions of bile salt, lecithin, oleate, and monoglyceride with a constant total concentration (11.7 mM) but varying molar ratios. The equilibrium solubility of seven low solubility acidic (zafirlukast), basic (aprepitant, carvedilol), and neutral (fenofibrate, felodipine, griseofulvin, and spironolactone) drugs was investigated. Solubility results are comparable with literature values and also our own previously published design of experiment studies. Results indicate that solubilization is not a sum accumulation of individual amphiphile concentrations, but a drug specific effect through interactions of mixed amphiphile compositions with the drug. This is probably due to a combined interaction of drug characteristics; for example, lipophilicity, molecular shape, and ionization with amphiphile components, which can generate specific drug-micelle affinities. The proportion of each component can have a remarkable influence on solubility with, in some cases, the highest and lowest points close to each other. A single-point solubility measurement in a fixed composition simulated media or human intestinal fluid sample will therefore provide a value without knowledge of the surrounding solubility topography meaning that variability may be overlooked. This study has demonstrated how the amphiphile ratios influence drug solubility and highlights the importance of the envelope of physiological variation when simulating in vivo drug behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Early online date27 Jul 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jul 2017


  • 4MD
  • biopharmaceutics classification system
  • design of experiment
  • FaSSIF
  • FeSSIF


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