Self-nanoemulsifying drug delivery system (SNEDDS) containing oil (Phosal 53 MCT), surfactant (Labrasol), and cosurfactant (Transcutol-HP or Lutrol-E400) was prepared to enhance solubility and dissolution of lutein. Ternary phase diagram of the SNEDDS was constructed to identify the self-emulsifying regions following which the percentage of oil, surfactant, and cosurfactant in the SNEDDS were optimized in terms of emulsification time and mean emulsion droplet size. The optimized SNEDDS consists of 25% oil, 60% surfactant, and 15% cosurfactant. When measured using USP XXIII dissolution apparatus II, the emulsification time of the SNEDDS prepared with Transcutol-HP as cosurfactant was less than 20 sec, and it was 20-30 sec in the SNEDDS prepared with Lutrol-E400. Mean emulsion droplet size was slightly smaller when Transcutol-HP was used as cosurfactant (80 +/- 6 nm), compared to when Lutrol- E400 was used (93 +/- 6 nm). Dissolution of lutein from the solid SNEDDS (physical mixture of the optimized SNEDDS and Aerosil 200) took place immediately (less than 5 min) in distilled water, and, once dissolved, no precipitation or aggregation of the drug were observed. In contrast, no drug was released from lutein powder or from the commercial product (Eyelac(R)) until 3 h of the study duration.
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