The stability of liposomal formulations is a key issue in drug delivery. Liposomes made of egg phosphatidylcholine (EPC), cholesterol (Chol), sphingomyelin (SM), and gangliosides (GM1 and GM type III) were incubated in different media to determine their stability. Mixtures containing GM1 or GM type III were found to be the most stable, and both showed similar stability trends in plasma at 37 degrees C. EPC/Chol was the most susceptible to lysis in plasma. In acid media (pH 2), the highest stability corresponded to EPC/Chol, whereas in bile and pancreatin, liposomes with GM1 and GM type III were more stable than those containing SM. This study suggests that among the formulations used as oral drug carriers, those containing GM1 and GM type III have higher possibilities of surviving through the gastrointestinal tract.