Improvement of lipid solubility and oral bioavailability of a poorly water- and poorly lipid-soluble drug, rebamipide, by utilizing its counter ion and SNEDDS preparation

Shinya Okawa, Yusuke Sumimoto, Kazufumi Masuda, Ken-ichi Ogawara, Masato Maruyama, Kazutaka Higaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Among drugs in development and/or in market, there are poorly water-soluble and poorly lipid-soluble compounds. Rebamipide, classified into BCS class IV, is one of those drugs which provide very low bioavailability and/or the difficulty of formulation for oral administration. Because of its low solubility in available lipoidal excipients, it was impossible to prepare an adequate SNEDDS formulation of rebamipide. Then, we tried to increase the solubility of rebamipide in lipoidal excipients for preparing a more practical SNEDDS formulation by making the complex with its counter ion, tetrabutylphosphonium hydroxide (TBPOH) or NaOH. Rebamipide concentration in ethanol was proportionally increased with the increment of TBPOH or NaOH added, indicating that the formation of complex with a counter ion should contribute to the solubilization of rebamipide in ethanol. Both Rebamipide-TBPOH complex (Reb-TBPOH) and Rebamipide-NaOH complex (Reb-NaOH) obtained by lyophilization showed no endothermic peak in DSC and no diffraction peak in XRPD, suggesting that the solid state of both complexes should be amorphous. Reb-TBPOH maintained the dissolution of rebamipide in SNEDDS vehicle (Capryol 90:Cremophor EL:Transcutol P = 4:3:3) at 20 mg/g at least for 28 days, while Reb-NaOH did it at 10 mg/g. In vitro dissolution study showed that Reb-TBPOH SNEDDS and Reb-NaOH SNEDDS containing rebamipide at 10 mg/g maintained the complete dissolution of rebamipide in FaSSIF (intestinal luminal condition). In the gastric luminal condition (pH3.9 acetate buffer), the high concentration, close to the complete dissolution, was transiently observed and quickly decreased to one-sixth of the maximum, but it was still around 70 times higher than that of the crystalline powder. The additional utilization of Eudragit EPO for SNEDDS preparations of both complexes successfully maintained the high concentrations of rebamipide in the gastric luminal condition. In vivo oral absorption studies clearly indicated that SNEDDS preparations utilizing Reb-counter ion complex successfully improved rebamipide absorption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105721
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Counter ion
  • Oral absorption
  • Poorly water- and poorly lipid-soluble drug
  • Solubility improvement
  • Supersaturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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