Advantageous Solubility-Permeability Interplay When Using Amorphous Solid Dispersion (ASD) Formulation for the BCS Class IV P-gp Substrate Rifaximin: Simultaneous Increase of Both the Solubility and the Permeability Academic Article uri icon


  • Rifaximin is a BCS class IV (low-solubility, low-permeability) drug and also a P-gp substrate. The aims of this work were to assess the efficiency of different rifaximin amorphous solid dispersion (ASDs) formulations in achieving and maintaining supersaturation and to investigate the consequent solubility-permeability interplay. Spray-dried rifaximin ASDs were prepared with different hydrophilic polymers and their ability to achieve and maintain supersaturation was assessed. Then, rifaximin’s apparent intestinal permeability was investigated as a function of increasing supersaturation both in vitro using the parallel artificial membrane permeability assay (PAMPA) and in vivo using the single-pass rat intestinal perfusion (SPIP) model. The efficiency of the different ASDs to achieve and maintain supersaturation of rifaximin was found to be highly polymer dependent, and the copovidone/HPC-SL formulation was found to be superior to the other two, allowing supersaturation of 200× that of the crystalline solubility for 20 h. In vitro, rifaximin flux was increased and the apparent permeability was constant as a function of increasing supersaturation level. In vivo, on the other hand, absorption rate coefficient (k a) was first constant as a function of increasing supersaturation, but at 250×, the crystalline solubility k a was doubled, similar to the k a in the presence of the strong P-gp inhibitor GF120918. In conclusion, a new and favorable nature of solubility-permeability interplay was revealed in this work: delivering high supersaturation level of the BCS class IV drug rifaximin via ASD, thereby saturating the drugs’ P-gp-mediated efflux transport, led to the favorable unique win-win situation, where both the solubility and the permeability increased simultaneously.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017