Journal of liposome research

Optimization of formulation variables of benzocaine liposomes using experimental design.

PMID 18569447


This study aimed to optimize, by means of an experimental design multivariate strategy, a liposomal formulation for topical delivery of the local anaesthetic agent benzocaine. The formulation variables for the vesicle lipid phase uses potassium glycyrrhizinate (KG) as an alternative to cholesterol and the addition of a cationic (stearylamine) or anionic (dicethylphosphate) surfactant (qualitative factors); the percents of ethanol and the total volume of the hydration phase (quantitative factors) were the variables for the hydrophilic phase. The combined influence of these factors on the considered responses (encapsulation efficiency (EE%) and percent drug permeated at 180 min (P%)) was evaluated by means of a D-optimal design strategy. Graphic analysis of the effects indicated that maximization of the selected responses requested opposite levels of the considered factors: For example, KG and stearylamine were better for increasing EE%, and cholesterol and dicethylphosphate for increasing P%. In the second step, the Doehlert design, applied for the response-surface study of the quantitative factors, pointed out a negative interaction between percent ethanol and volume of the hydration phase and allowed prediction of the best formulation for maximizing drug permeation rate. Experimental P% data of the optimized formulation were inside the confidence interval (P < 0.05) calculated around the predicted value of the response. This proved the suitability of the proposed approach for optimizing the composition of liposomal formulations and predicting the effects of formulation variables on the considered experimental response. Moreover, the optimized formulation enabled a significant improvement (P < 0.05) of the drug anaesthetic effect with respect to the starting reference liposomal formulation, thus demonstrating its actually better therapeutic effectiveness.