The traditional Chinese medicine, diosgenin (Dio), has attracted increasing attention because it possesses various therapeutic effects, including anti-tumor, anti-infective and anti-allergic properties. However, the commercial application of Dio is limited by its extremely low aqueous solubility and inferior bioavailability in vivo. Soluplus, a novel excipient, has great solubilization and capacity of crystallization inhibition. The purpose of this study was to prepare Soluplus-mediated Dio amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs) to improve its solubility, bioavailability and stability.
The crystallization inhibition studies were firstly carried out to select excipients using a solvent shift method. According to solubility and dissolution results, the preparation methods and the ratios of drug to excipient were further optimized. The interaction between Dio and Soluplus was characterized by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) and molecular docking. The pharmacokinetic study was conducted to explore the potential of Dio ASDs for oral administration. Furthermore, the long-term stability of Dio ASDs was also investigated.
Soluplus was preliminarily selected from various excipients because of its potential to improve solubility and stability. The optimized ASDs significantly improved the aqueous solubility of Dio due to its amorphization and the molecular interactions between Dio and Soluplus, as evidenced by dissolution test in vitro, DSC, FT-IR spectroscopy, SEM, PXRD and molecular docking technique. Furthermore, pharmacokinetic studies in rats revealed that the bioavailability of Dio from ASDs was improved about 5 times. In addition, Dio ASDs were stable when stored at 40°C and 75% humidity for 6 months.