Recent studies have shown that digestion of lipid-based formulations (LBFs) can stimulate both supersaturation and precipitation. The current study has evaluated the drug, formulation and dose-dependence of the supersaturation - precipitation balance for a range of LBFs.
Type I, II, IIIA/B LBFs containing medium-chain (MC) or long-chain (LC) lipids, and lipid-free Type IV LBF incorporating different doses of fenofibrate or tolfenamic acid were digested in vitro in a simulated intestinal medium. The degree of supersaturation was assessed through comparison of drug concentrations in aqueous digestion phases (AP(DIGEST)) during LBF digestion and the equilibrium drug solubility in the same phases.
Increasing fenofibrate or tolfenamic acid drug loads (i.e., dose) had negligible effects on LC LBF performance during digestion, but promoted drug crystallization (confirmed by XRPD) from MC and Type IV LBF. Drug crystallization was only evident in instances when the calculated maximum supersaturation ratio (SRM) was > 3. This threshold SRM value was remarkably consistent across all LBF and was also consistent with previous studies with danazol.
The maximum supersaturation ratio (SRM) provides an indication of the supersaturation pressure exerted by formulation digestion and is strongly predictive of the likelihood of drug precipitation in vitro. This may also prove effective in discriminating the in vivo performance of LBFs.