The potential of cucurbit[n]urils in drug delivery

Shonagh Walker, Rabbab Oun, Fiona Mcinnes, Nial Wheate

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

219 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we review cucurbit[n]urils (CB[n]), a relatively new family of macrocycles that has shown potential in improving drug delivery. Encapsulation of drugs within the homologues CB[6], CB[7], or CB[8] can impart enhanced chemical and physical stability, improve drug solubility, and control drug release. The formulation of CB[n] into a dosage form suitable for clinical use is a non-trivial task, because the free macrocycle and its host-drug complex generally exhibit pseudo-polymorphism in the solid state. Despite this, cucurbiturils have been included in tablets for oral delivery and inserts for nasal delivery. Here we examine the potential use of cucurbiturils in drug delivery in the context of getting a new drug into clinical trials and discuss what further research is needed in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-624
Number of pages9
JournalIsrael Journal of Chemistry
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • cucurbituril
  • drug delivery
  • formulation
  • polymorphism
  • solubility
  • stability


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