Ionic liquid forms of the antimalarial lumefantrine in combination with LFCS type IIIB lipid-based formulations preferentially increase lipid solubility, in vitro solubilization behavior and in vivo exposure

Erin Tay, Tri Hung Nguyen, Leigh Ford, Hywel D. Williams, Hassan Benameur, Peter J. Scammells, Christopher J.H. Porter

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Lipid based formulations (LBFs) are commonly employed to enhance the absorption of highly lipophilic, poorly water-soluble drugs. However, the utility of LBFs can be limited by low drug solubility in the formulation. Isolation of ionizable drugs as low melting, lipophilic salts or ionic liquids (ILs) provides one means to enhance drug solubility in LBFs. However, whether different ILs benefit from formulation in different LBFs is largely unknown. In the current studies, lumefantrine was isolated as a number of different lipophilic salt/ionic liquid forms and performance was assessed after formulation in a range of LBFs. The solubility of lumefantrine in LBF was enhanced 2-to 80-fold by isolation as the lumefantrine docusate IL when compared to lumefantrine free base. The increase in drug loading subsequently enhanced concentrations in the aqueous phase of model intestinal fluids during in vitro dispersion and digestion testing of the LBF. To assess in vivo performance, the systemic exposure of lumefantrine docusate after administration in Type II-MCF, IIIB-MCF, IIIB-LCF, and IV formulations was evaluated after oral administration to rats. In vivo exposure was compared to control lipid and aqueous suspension formulations of lumefantrine free base. Lumefantrine docusate in the Type IIIB-LCF showed significantly higher plasma exposure compared to all other formulations (up to 35-fold higher). The data suggest that isolation of a lipid-soluble IL, coupled with an appropriate formulation, is a viable means to increase drug dose in an oral formulation and to enhance exposure of lumefantrine in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Number of pages25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Drug absorption
  • Drug delivery
  • Ionic liquid
  • Lipid formulation classification system
  • Lipid-based formulation
  • Lipophilic salt
  • Lumefantrine
  • Poorly water-soluble drug

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