Natural products have been frequently used as sources of clinical useful pharmaceuticals.
However, some intrinsic characteristics of the natural drugs have limited their use,
namely their solubility and chemical stability in physiologic mediums. Innovative drug delivery
systems may help overcome such limitations, thus providing more effective administration
of natural products. Phytosome (Indena SPA, Italy) is one of the most exciting recent
delivery technologies that improves the oral bioavailability of the phytopharmaceuticals
by their inclusion in equimolar complexes with dietary phospholipids with vesicular shape
in aqueous environments. The purpose of this review is to characterize the state of the art of
the phytosome as drug delivery system of natural products, including a discussion of the
natural drug-phospholipid complex interactions, mechanisms of oral and topical delivery,
methods of preparation and phytosome recent applications and patents in the 2006-2016 period.
Keywords: Phytosome, phyto-phospholipidic complex, natural compounds, innovative drug delivery systems,
preparation and characterization techniques, clinical and nutritional uses.
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