A safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic study of a novel simvastatin silica-lipid hybrid formulation in healthy male participants

Tahlia R Meola, Ahmad Y Abuhelwa, Paul Joyce, Peter Clifton, Clive A Prestidge

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    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Simvastatin (SIM) is a commonly used cholesterol-lowering drug that can reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events. However, due to its poor intrinsic water solubility, the drug is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and exhibits a low oral bioavailability of approximately 5%. The aim of this study was to fabricate and optimize SIM encapsulated silica-lipid hybrids (SLH) as a solid-state lipid-based formulation to enhance absorption and bioavailability during a human in vivo pharmacokinetic study. SLH formulations were formulated by spray drying a submicron emulsion with either Aerosil® 300 fumed silica nanoparticles (SLH-A) or Syloid® 244 amorphous micronized silica (SLH-B). A cross-over, double-blinded study design was implemented to evaluate the performance of SLH formulations compared with a commercially available formulation in 12 healthy male participants after oral administration under fasting conditions. SLH formulations enhanced the bioavailability of SIM up to 1.6-fold and more importantly the active simvastatin acid (SIMA), 3.5-fold when compared with an equivalent dose of commercial formulation. The results demonstrate that the porous nanostructure of SLH impact systemic SIM and SIMA concentrations and may serve as a novel approach to enhance the bioavailability of specifically the parent or metabolite. No significant difference was observed in exposure when SLH formulations were administered at 10 mg in comparison with 20 mg of the commercial formulation, suggesting the potential for dose reduction. The study indicated that SLH formulations were safe and well-tolerated when administered to healthy males, confirming the commercial potential of SLH to enhance the bioavailability of poorly water-soluble drugs. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1261-1272
    Number of pages12
    JournalDrug Delivery and Translational Research
    Issue number3
    Early online date11 Sept 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


    • Simvastatin
    • Clinical trial
    • Oral delivery
    • Bioavailability
    • Lipid formulation
    • Silica


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