Dissolution and Solubility Enhancement of the Highly Lipophilic Drug Phenytoin via Interaction with Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-vinylpyrrolidone) Excipients

Lakmini Widanapathirana, Swapnil Tale, Theresa M. Reineke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Excipients of natural or synthetic origin play an important role in pharmaceutical performance to enhance the solubility, bioavailability, release, and stability of insoluble drugs. Herein, a series of seven excipient models was prepared by both homopolymerization and copolymerization of 1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone (VP) and N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) by free radical polymerization yielding two homopolymers poly(VP) and poly(NIPAAm) and five copolymers of poly(NIPAAm-co-VP) at difference compositions. While the VP monomer provided aqueous solubility at a variety of conditions to the excipient, the incorporation of NIPAAm into the copolymer offered additional hydrogen bond donating sites to optimize the drug-polymer interactions in the system. Due to the presence of NIPAAm, the copolymers were sensitive to temperature as well. It was found that as the proportion of VP was increased (from 0 to 100%), the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) and the water solubility of the polymer models increased. To examine the role of specific drug-polymer interactions during dissolution on drug solubility and bioavailability, the polymers were formulated with the anticonvulsant drug phenytoin, which is a poorly water-soluble BCS class II drug where oral absorption is limited by the drug solubility. Amorphous solid dispersions (ASD) were prepared via spray drying of phenytoin with the polymer excipient models to contain 10% and 25% by weight drug loading. Physical characterization of the ASDs by powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) revealed that the polymers held the drug in a high-energy amorphous phase in all the formulations prepared. All ASDs exhibited improved in vitro dissolution rates compared to drug only and physical mixtures of the polymers and the drug. Drug solubility was the highest with the ASDs containing poly(NIPAAm-co-VP) 60:40 and 50:50, which showed a solubility enhancement of near 14-fold increase compared to pure drug, indicating the significance of copolymer composition to improve drug-polymer interactions toward increasing bioavailability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2537-2543
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular pharmaceutics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 6 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Chemical Society.


  • crystallization inhibition
  • dissolution
  • phenytoin
  • poly(NIPAAm-co-VP)
  • supersaturation maintenance

How much support was provided by MRSEC?

  • Shared

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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