Lipid aggregates, mainly liposomes, have been used as drug carriers for quite some time. Recently, nonlamellar
liquid crystalline lipid systems, such as inverted bicontinuous cubic, hexagonal and sponge mesophases, attract attention
as possible drug-delivery vehicles because of their unique microstructure and physicochemical properties. Various bioactive
molecules can be solubilized and protected from hydrolysis or oxidation in either the aqueous or the oil lipid phase.
Nonlamellar liquid crystalline lipid aggregates have demonstrated high encapsulating capacity and ability for controlled
release of drugs. Valuable properties such as a wide solubilization spectrum, high drug payloads, effective encapsulation,
stabilization and protection of sensitive drug substances, define the nonlamellar lipid aggregates as promising pharmaceutical
carriers. This review summarizes the recent patents on new formulations based on nonlamellar liquid crystalline lipid
phases and their efficiency as drug carriers.
Keywords: Controlled release, cubic, drug delivery, hexagonal, lipid, nonlamellar phase.
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