Self-emulsification of Lipidic Drug Delivery System in Pure Water and in Concentrated Glycerol Solution

Carole Planchette, Annalisa Mercuri, Lorenzo Arcangeli, Manfred Kriechbaum, Peter Laggner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-emulsifying drug delivery systems (SEDDS), often intended for oral delivery, are normally explored in biorelevant aqueous media. The high complexity of these multi-component systems leaves the understanding of self-emulsification poor, hindering formulation rationalization. In this work, we aimed to fill this gap by studying the effects of glycerol on the self-emulsification of a ternary component formulation made of 20% w/w Tween 80, 15% w/w Span 80, and 65% w/w Captex 300 Low C6. The behavior of SEDDS in pure water and a binary mixture of water and glycerol (58.8% w/w) were investigated by optical microscopy, SAXS (small angle X-ray scattering), dynamic light scattering, and surface tension measurements. The presence of glycerol, at 58.8% w/w, altered the self-emulsification behavior by suppressing the formation of lamellar structures observed in the presence of water, reducing the droplet mean diameter from 0.2 to 0.1 μm and changing the mechanism of self-emulsification. As co-surfactant, glycerol may intercalate within the polyoxyethylene chains of the surfactant at the palisade layer, increasing the interface flexibility and expanding it. Since no free water is available at the investigated glycerol concentration, glycerol, which is also a co-solvent, may additionally modify long-range interactions by reducing Van-der-Waals attractions or giving rise to repulsive surface-solvent mediated forces of entropic origin. These effects could be exploited to rationalize SEDDS formulations, widening their use within the pharmaceutical industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3053-3063
JournalAAPS PharmSciTech
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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