Intestinal delivery in a long-chain fatty acid formulation enables lymphatic transport and systemic exposure of orlistat

Given Lee, Sifei Han, Zijun Lu, Jiwon Hong, Anthony R.J. Phillips, John A. Windsor, Christopher J.H. Porter, Natalie L. Trevaskis

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Orlistat is a pancreatic lipase (PL) inhibitor that inhibits dietary lipid absorption and is used to treat obesity. The oral bioavailability of orlistat is considered zero after administration in standard formulations. This is advantageous in the treatment of obesity. However, if orlistat absorption could be improved it has the potential to treat diseases such as acute and critical illnesses where PL transport to the systemic circulation via gut lymph promotes organ failure. Orlistat is highly lipophilic and may associate with intestinal lipid absorption pathways into lymph. Here we investigate the potential to improve orlistat lymph and systemic uptake through intestinal administration in lipid formulations (LFs). The effect of lipid type, lipid dose, orlistat dose, and infusion time on lymph and systemic availability of orlistat was investigated. After administration in all LFs, orlistat concentrations in lymph were greater than in plasma, suggesting direct transport via lymph. Lymph and plasma orlistat derivative concentrations were ~8-fold greater after administration in a long-chain fatty acid (LC-FA) compared to a lipid-free, LC triglyceride (LC-TG) or medium-chain FA (MC-FA) formulation. Overall, administration of orlistat in a LC-FA formulation promotes lymph and systemic uptake which may enable treatment of diseases associated with elevated systemic PL activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120247
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Drug Delivery
  • Fatty Acid
  • Lipase inhibitor
  • Lipid Formulation
  • Lymphatic
  • Orlistat

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