Optimizing ophthalmic delivery of a poorly water soluble drug from an aqueous In situ gelling system

Faria Senjoti, Peter Timmins, Barbara Conway, Alan Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Poorly soluble drugs are often unsuitable to incorporate in ocular in situ gelling systems due to the aqueous based gelling formulations and low volumes administered. For such formulations to be successful, the administered drug must have sufficient solubility to diffuse from the formulation to the eye and should not affect the gelation of the in situ gelling material. Drug salt forms can improve the solubility of poorly soluble drugs, however, as in situ gel forming formulations are often designed to be crosslinked by salts (present the lacrimal fluid) it can make salt forms difficult to formulate. The aim of this study was to develop an in situ gel forming ophthalmic formulation of a poorly soluble drug flurbiprofen (FBP) through cyclodextrin complex formation and to analyse the impact on gelation, release and permeation through the cornea. Hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin (HβCD) was used as a complexing agent and low acyl gellan gum was added to the FBP- HβCD complex as a water soluble in situ gelling polymer. Measurements were performed using rheo-dissolution, which utilises a rheometer with a modified lower plate that has the unique ability to allow rheological measurement and analysis of drug release simultaneously. An ex-vivo permeation study was also performed using porcine cornea. Rheological measurements in terms of elastic (Gʹ) and viscous (Gʺ) modulus showed rapid gelation of the formulation upon contact with simulated lacrimal fluid (SLF). Approximately, 97% FBP was released when 10% HβCD was used and release was decreased to 79% when the amount of HβCD was increased to 20%. The percentage of drug permeation through the cornea was 55% in 300 min whereas the marketed non gelling eye drop formulation containing FBP sodium showed only 37% permeation. The data presented here, revealed that not only could a poorly soluble drug be complexed with cyclodextrin and loaded into an in situ gelling system without interfering with the gelation, but also permeability the of the drug improved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Early online date27 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


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