Structured solubility behaviour in fed simulated intestinal fluids

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Intestinal drug solubility is a key parameter controlling absorption after the administration of a solid oral dosage form. The ability to measure fed state solubility in vitro is limited and multiple simulated intestinal fluid recipes have been developed but with no consensus which is optimal. This study has utilised nine bioequivalent simulated fed intestinal media recipes that cover over 90% of the compositional variability of sampled fed human intestinal fluid. The solubility of 24 drugs (Acidic; furosemide, ibuprofen, indomethacin, mefenamic acid, naproxen, phenytoin, piroxicam, valsartan, zafirlukast: Basic; aprepitant, atazanavir, bromocriptine, carvedilol, dipyridamole, posaconazole, tadalafil: Neutral; acyclovir, carbamazepine, felodipine, fenofibrate, griseofulvin, itraconazole, paracetamol, probucol) has been assessed to determine if structured solubility behaviour is present. The measured solubility behaviour can be split into four categories and is consistent with drug physicochemical properties and previous solubility studies. For acidic drugs (category 1) solubility is controlled by media pH and the lowest and highest pH media identify the lowest and highest solubility in 90% of cases. For weakly acidic, basic and neutral drugs (category 2) solubility is controlled by media pH and total amphiphile concentration (TAC), a consistent solubility pattern is evident with variation related to individual drug media component interactions. The lowest and highest pH × TAC media identify the lowest and highest solubility in 70% and 90% of cases respectively. Four drugs, which are non-ionised in the media systems (category 3), have been identified with a very narrow solubility range, indicating minimal impact of the simulated media on solubility. Three drugs exhibit solubility behaviour that is not consistent with the remainder (category 4). The results indicate that the use of two bioequivalent fed intestinal media from the original nine will identify in vitro the maximum and minimum solubility values for the majority of drugs and due to the media derivation this is probably applicable in vivo. When combined with a previous fasted study, this introduces interesting possibilities to measure a solubility range in vitro that can provide Quality by Design based decisions to rationalise drug and formulation development. Overall this indicates that the multi-dimensional media system is worthy of further investigation as in vitro tool to assess fed intestinal solubility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-73
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Early online date25 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023


  • drug solubility
  • intestinal fluid
  • absorption
  • solid oral dosage form


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