Enhancing the oral bioavailability of simvastatin with silica-lipid hybrid particles: The effect of supersaturation and silica geometry

Silica-lipid hybrid (SLH) microparticles are a solidified lipid-based drug delivery system under investigation for their aptitude to enhance the oral bioavailability of poorly water-soluble drugs. The cholesterol-lowering agent, simvastatin (SIM), is poorly water-soluble and undergoes extensive first pass metabolism, resulting in a low oral bioavailability of approximately 5%. Hence, the current pre-clinical studies investigated the application of SLH technology to SIM with a supersaturation approach, aiming to enhance bioavailability and drug loading capacity.

Additionally, the effect of silica was explored by evaluating the performance of SLH fabricated with silica of different particle geometries. SLH microparticles with supersaturated SIM loading levels ranging from 100% to 400% above the equilibrium solubility were successfully fabricated using either Aerosil® 300 or Syloid® 244 silica. All SLH formulations existed as white free-flowing powders, consisting of spherical porous microparticles for Aerosil® 300, and aggregated irregular microparticles for Syloid® 244. During in vitro dissolution in pH 7.0 media, the SLH formulations performed up to 4.4-fold greater than pure SIM powder.

Furthermore, in vivo oral pharmacokinetics in male Sprague-Dawley rats revealed that the SLH formulations enhanced the oral bioavailability of SIM up to 6.1-fold and 2.9-fold, in comparison to pure SIM powder and a commercially available formulation (Simvastatin Sandoz®), respectively. The greatest in vivo performance enhancement was observed for the SLH formulation manufactured with Syloid® 244 silica with a supersaturation level of 200%. SLH technology demonstrated to be a successful formulation strategy to significantly improve the oral bioavailability of SIM in rodents and therefore, has a strong potential to also improve the oral bioavailability of SIM in humans.

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Article Information: Author links open overlay panelTahlia R. Meola, Hayley B. Schultz, Karl F. Peressin, Clive A. Prestidge; European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2020.

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