International journal of pharmaceutics

Optimized mixed oils remarkably reduce the amount of surfactants in microemulsions without affecting oral bioavailability of ibuprofen by simultaneously enlarging microemulsion areas and enhancing drug solubility.

PMID 25841571


The toxicity and irritation associated with high amounts of surfactants restrict the extensive utilization of microemulsions. To address these shortcomings, employing mixed oils to enlarge microemulsion areas therefore reducing surfactant contents is a promising strategy. However, what kinds of mixed oils are more efficient in enlarging microemulsion areas still remains unclear. In this research, we found that the chain length and degree of unsaturation of oils play a key role in enlarging microemulsion areas. The combination of moderate chain saturated oil caprylic/capric triglyceride (GTCC) with long chain unsaturated oil glycerol trioleate significantly increased the microemulsion areas. Solubility of ibuprofen in the mixed oils was unexpectedly and remarkably increased (almost 300mg/mL) compared with that (around 100mg/mL) of the single oil (GTCC), which also resulted in greatly increased solubility of ibuprofen in mixed oils-containing microemulsions. By optimizing the mixed oil formulation, the absolute amount of surfactant in drug-loaded microemulsions was reduced but increased drug oral bioavailability in rats was maintained. It could be concluded that the combined use of moderate chain oils and long chain unsaturated oils could not only acquire enlarged microemulsion areas but also enhanced drug solubility, therefore doubly reducing surfactant amount, which is extremely beneficial for developing safe microemulsions.