The solubility behaviour of drugs remains one of the most challenging aspects in formulation development. With the advent of combinatorial chemistry and high throughput screening, the number of poorly water soluble compounds has dramatically increased. Although solid solutions have tremendous potential for improving drug solubility, 40 years of research have resulted in only a few marketed products using this approach. With the introduction of new manufacturing technologies such as hot melt extrusion, it should be possible to overcome problems in scale-up and for this reason solid solutions are enjoying a renaissance. This article begins with an overview of the historical background and definitions of the various systems including eutectic mixtures, solid dispersions and solid solutions. The remainder of the article is devoted to the production, the different carriers and the methods used for the characterization of solid dispersions.