Self-nanoemulsifying Drug Delivery Systems: Formulation Insights, Applications and Advances

Abhijit A Date; Neha Desai; Rahul Dixit; Mangal Nagarsenker


Nanomedicine. 2010;5(10) 

In This Article

Overview of Nanoemulsions as a Novel Drug Delivery System

Nanoemulsions offer various advantages for different applications owing to their interesting properties. However, advantages of nanoemulsions pertaining to pharmaceutical research are described below.

Long-term Colloidal Stability

Nanoemulsions can have long-term colloidal stability when fabricated using optimum conditions. Owing to this property, nanoemulsions can be used as drug carriers and can impart long shelf-life to the pharmaceutical product.

Ability to Solubilize Hydrophilic & Hydrophobic Therapeutic Agents

Nanoemulsions have the ability to solubilize hydrophobic as well as hydrophilic drugs in their nanostructure depending on the type of nanoemulsion. The O/W nanoemulsions are used for improving delivery of hydrophobic drugs, whereas W/O nanoemulsions are preferred for incorporating hydrophilic drugs.

Improved Stability of the Therapeutic Agents

Encapsulation of therapeutic agents in nanoemulsions can offer improvements in the chemical and/or enzymatic stability of therapeutic agents, such as 10-methoxy-9-nitrocamptothecin[8] and cefpodoxime proxetil,[9] leading to improvement in shelf-life and/or therapeutic efficacy.

Greater Esthetic Appeal & Skin Feel

The low viscosity and transparent (or translucent) nature of nanoemulsions can offer good esthetic appeal, patient compliance and skin feel, and with suitable viscosity modifications, nanoemulsions could be used in patient-friendly 'roll-on'-type formulations, sprays and nanoemulsion gels.

Improved Dermal & Mucosal Transport

Nanoemulsions have demonstrated the ability to enhance the dermal, transdermal and mucosal transport/permeation of various drugs.[10,11]

Improved Oral Bioavailability

Nanoemulsions have demonstrated tremendous potential in improving oral bioavailability of several therapeutic agents, for example ramipril, ezetimibe, cefpodoxime proxetil and curcumin.[9,12–14] This aspect is discussed below in greater detail.

Use as a Template to Fabricate Nanoparticulate Systems

The large interfacial area and small droplet size of the nanoemulsions enable them to act as a template for facile fabrication of pharmaceutical nanoparticulate systems, such as solid lipid nanoparticles, polymeric nanoparticles/nanocapsules and drug nanosuspensions.[15]

Ease of Manufacture & Scale-up

The methods employed for the fabrication of nanoemulsions enable ease of manufacturing and scale-up of nanoemulsions.

Limitations of the Nanoemulsions

Nanoemulsions are not very suitable for controlled drug release applications. Furthermore, the palatability of the nanoemulsion components and compatibility with other excipients could be a major limiting factor in the case of oral drug delivery.


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