Cyclodextrin-based delivery systems in parenteral formulations: a critical update review

Parenteral formulations are indispensable in clinical practice and often are the only option to administer drugs that cannot be administrated through other routes, such as proteins and certain anticancer drugs – which are indispensable to treat some of the most prevailing chronic diseases worldwide (like diabetes and cancer). Additionally, parenteral formulations play a relevant role in emergency care since they are the only ones that provide an immediate action of the drug after its administration. However, the development of parenteral formulations is a complex task owing to the specific quality and safety requirements set for these preparations and the intrinsic properties of the drugs.


  • Formulation-related and patient-related drawbacks hamper the development of novel parenteral formulations;
  • Several CDs are recognized by regulatory authorities for parenteral route;
  • Smart multifunctional CD-based delivery systems can incorporate small molecules, drugs, genes and proteins;
  • CDs can act as macromolecular structured platforms for biotechnological applications;
  • CD-based supramolecular hydrogels are very studied owing to their unique properties for injectable formulations;
  • Most clinical trials of injectable formulations containing CDs display satisfactory safety and efficacy outcomes.

Amongst all the strategies that can be useful in the development of parenteral formulations, the formation of water-soluble host-guest inclusion complexes with cyclodextrins (CDs) has proven to be one of the most advantageous. CDs are multifunctional pharmaceutical excipients able to form water-soluble host-guest inclusion complexes with a wide variety of molecules, particularly drugs, and thus improve their apparent water-solubility, chemical stability, and bioavailability, to make them suitable for parenteral administration. Besides, CDs can be employed as building blocks of more complex injectable drug delivery systems with enhanced characteristics, such as nanoparticles and supramolecular hydrogels, that has been found particularly beneficial for the delivery of anticancer drugs. However, only a few CDs are considered safe when parenterally administered, and some of these types are already approved to be used in parenteral dosage forms. Therefore, the application of CDs in the development of parenteral formulations has been a more common practice in the last few years, due to their significant worldwide acceptance by the health authorities, promoting the development of safer and more efficient injectable drug delivery systems.

Read more

Laura Ferreira, Joana Campos, Francisco Veiga, Catarina Cardoso, Ana Cláudia Paiva-Santos, Cyclodextrin-based delivery systems in parenteral formulations: a critical update review, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 2022, ISSN 0939-6411,

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