Drugs are most often administered by the oral route. However, more than 40% of new chemical entities exhibit poor aqueous solubility, resulting in unsatisfactory oral drug delivery. Recently, much attention has been focused on selfemulsifying drug delivery systems (SEDDS) to improve the oral bioavailability of poorly aqueous soluble drugs. SEDDS are isotropic mixtures of oil, surfactants, solvents and co-solvents/surfactants. The principal characteristic of these systems is their ability to form fine oil-in-water (o/w) emulsions or microemulsions upon mild agitation following dilution by an aqueous phase. For lipophilic drugs, which display dissolution rate-limited absorption, SEDDS may be a promising strategy to improve the rate and extent of oral absorption. This article gives an overview of the new excipients used in SEDDS and biopharmaceutical aspects of SEDDS. The application of SEDDS and closely related lipid-based systems as drug delivery vehicles is also introduced, with particular emphasis being placed on the application of SEDDS in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Keywords: Self-emulsifying, self-microemulsifying, lipid-based systems, poorly soluble drugs, oral delivery, bioavailability
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