The influence of lipid digestion on the fate of orally administered drug delivery vehicles

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This review will focus on orally administered lipid-based drug delivery vehicles and specifically the influence of lipid digestion on the structure of the carrier lipids and their entrained drug cargoes. Digestion of the formulation lipids, which are typically apolar triglycerides, generates amphiphilic monoglycerides and fatty acids that can self-assemble into a diverse array of liquid crystalline structures. Tracking the dynamic changes in selfassembly of the lipid digestion products during digestion has recently been made possible using synchrotron-based small angle X-ray scattering. The influence of lipid chain length and degree of unsaturation on the resulting lipid structuring will be described in the context of the critical packing parameter theory. The chemical and structural transformation of the formulation lipids can also have a dramatic impact on the physical state of drugs co-administered with the formulation. It is often assumed that the best strategy for drug development is to maximise drug solubility in the undigested formulation lipids and to incorporate additives to maintain drug solubility during digestion. However, it is possible to improve drug absorption using lipid digestion in cases where the solubility of the dosed drug or one of its polymorphic forms is greater in the digested lipids. Three different fates for drugs administered with digestible lipid-based formulations will be discussed: (1) where the drug is more soluble in the undigested formulation lipids; (2) where the drug undergoes a polymorphic transformation during lipid digestion; and (3) where the drug is more soluble in the digested formulation lipids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1749-1761
Number of pages13
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Cite this