Development of a Soluplus budesonide freeze-dried powder for nasal drug delivery

Michele Pozzoli, Daniela Traini, Paul M. Young, Maria B. Sukkar, Fabio Sonvico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The aim of this work was to develop an amorphous solid dispersions/solutions (ASD) of a poorly soluble drug, budesonide (BUD) with a novel polymer Soluplus® (BASF, Germany) using a freeze-drying technique, in order to improve dissolution and absorption through the nasal route.

Significance: The small volume of fluid present in the nasal cavity limits the absorption of a poorly soluble drug. Budesonide is a corticosteroid, practically insoluble and normally administered as a suspension-based nasal spray.

Methods: The formulation was prepared through freeze-drying of polymer-drug solution. The formulation was assessed for its physicochemical (specific surface area, calorimetric analysis and X-ray powder diffraction), release properties and aerodynamic properties as well as transport in vitro using RPMI 2650 nasal cells, in order to elucidate the efficacy of the Soluplus–BUD formulation.

Results: The freeze-dried Soluplus–BUD formulation (LYO) showed a porous structure with a specific surface area of 1.4334 ± 0.0178 m2/g. The calorimetric analysis confirmed an interaction between BUD and Soluplus and X-ray powder diffraction the amorphous status of the drug. The freeze-dried formulation (LYO) showed faster release compared to both water-based suspension and dry powder commercial products. Furthermore, a LYO formulation, bulked with calcium carbonate (LYO-Ca), showed suitable aerodynamic characteristics for nasal drug delivery. The permeation across RPMI 2650 nasal cell model was higher compared to a commercial water-based BUD suspension.

Conclusions: Soluplus has been shown to be a promising polymer for the formulation of BUD amorphous solid suspension/solution. This opens up opportunities to develop new formulations of poorly soluble drug for nasal delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1510-1518
Number of pages9
JournalDrug Development and Industrial Pharmacy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • nasal
  • powder
  • RPMI 2650
  • soluplus
  • budesonide
  • deposition
  • dissolution
  • permeation
  • freeze-drying
  • solid solutions


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