The present work was aimed at formulating a SMEDDS (self-microemulsifying drug delivery system) of fenofibrate and evaluating its in vitro and in vivo potential. The solubility of fenofibrate was determined in various vehicles. Pseudoternary phase diagrams were used to evaluate the microemulsification existence area, and the release rate of fenofibrate was investigated using an in vitro dissolution test. SMEDDS formulations were tested for microemulsifying properties, and the resultant microemulsions were evaluated for clarity, precipitation, and particle size distribution. Formulation development and screening was done based on results obtained from phase diagrams and characteristics of resultant microemulsions. The optimized formulation for in vitro dissolution and pharmacodynamic studies was composed of Labrafac CM10 (31.5%), Tween 80 (47.3%), and polyethylene glycol 400 (12.7%). The SMEDDS formulation showed complete release in 15 minutes as compared with the plain drug, which showed a limited dissolution rate. Comparative pharmacodynamic evaluation was investigated in terms of lipid-lowering efficacy, using a Triton-induced hypercholesterolemia model in rats. The SMEDDS formulation significantly reduced serum lipid levels in phases I and II of the Triton test, as compared with plain fenofibrate. The optimized formulation was then subjected to stability studies as per International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) guidelines and was found to be stable over 12 months. Thus, the study confirmed that the SMEDDS formulation can be used as a possible alternative to traditional oral formulations of fenofibrate to improve its bioavailability.
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