Agomelatine is a novel antidepressant drug suffering from an extensive first-pass metabolism leading to a diminished absolute bioavailability. The aim of the study is: first to enhance its absolute bioavailability, and second to increase its brain delivery.
To achieve these aims, the nasal route was adopted to exploit first its avoidance of the hepatic first-pass metabolism to increase the absolute bioavailability, and second the direct nose-to-brain pathway to enhance the brain drug delivery. Solid lipid nanoparticles were selected as a drug delivery system to enhance agomelatine permeability across the blood–brain barrier and therefore its brain delivery.
The optimum solid lipid nanoparticles have a particle size of 167.70 nm ±0.42, zeta potential of −17.90 mV ±2.70, polydispersity index of 0.12±0.10, entrapment efficiency % of 91.25%±1.70%, the percentage released after 1 h of 35.40%±1.13% and the percentage released after 8 h of 80.87%±5.16%. The pharmacokinetic study of the optimized solid lipid nanoparticles revealed a significant increase in each of the plasma peak concentration, the AUC(0–360 min) and the absolute bioavailability compared to that of the oral suspension of Valdoxan ® with the values of 759.00 ng/mL, 7,805.69 ng⋅min/mL and 44.44%, respectively. The optimized solid lipid nanoparticles gave a drug-targeting efficiency of 190.02, which revealed more successful brain targeting by the intranasal route compared with the intravenous route. The optimized solid lipid nanoparticles had a direct transport percentage of 47.37, which indicates a significant contribution of the direct nose-to-brain pathway in the brain drug delivery.