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Journal of pharmaceutical sciences

Soft gelatin capsules (softgels).


PMID 20737624

Abstract

It is estimated that more than 40% of new chemical entities (NCEs) coming out of the current drug discovery process have poor biopharmaceutical properties, such as low aqueous solubility and/or permeability. These suboptimal properties pose significant challenges for the oral absorption of the compounds and for the development of orally bioavailable dosage forms. Development of soft gelatin capsule (softgel) dosage form is of growing interest for the oral delivery of poorly water soluble compounds (BCS class II or class IV). The softgel dosage form offers several advantages over other oral dosage forms, such as delivering a liquid matrix designed to solubilize and improve the oral bioavailability of a poorly soluble compound as a unit dose solid dosage form, delivering low and ultra-low doses of a compound, delivering a low melting compound, and minimizing potential generation of dust during manufacturing and thereby improving the safety of production personnel. However, due to the very dynamic nature of the softgel dosage form, its development and stability during its shelf-life are fraught with several challenges. The goal of the current review is to provide an in-depth discussion on the softgel dosage form to formulation scientists who are considering developing softgels for therapeutic compounds.