Microsphere preparation using the untoxic solvent glycofurol

Pharm Res. 2011 Mar;28(3):563-71. doi: 10.1007/s11095-010-0304-6. Epub 2010 Oct 29.


Purpose: At laboratory scale, the most widely applied methods in therapeutic microencapsulation are based on emulsification using organic solvents. Here, glycofurol was proposed as non-toxic solvent to circumvent these inconveniences using a quasi-emulsion extraction method for the preparation of poly (lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres.

Methods: Matrix polymer and lipophilic drug were dissolved in glycofurol, building the internal phase, and emulsified under stirring into various external phases before microspheres could be obtained and characterized for their pharmacotechnical properties.

Results: Microspheres were spherical with particle diameters around 100 to 200 μm and also showed a monomodal particle size distribution. The internal sponge-like structure was related to an incomplete glycofurol extraction (residual content: 16.9% ± 1.6% of total particle mass), which is, however, no toxicological drawback. The encapsulation rate of several model compounds increased with rising partition coefficient (Ibuprofen: 1.9% ± 0.6%, Ritonavir: 11.2% ± 0.4%, Lopinavir: 14.0% ± 2.2%, Sudan III: 28.3% ± 0.4%) due to the decreasing solubility in the external phase. In-vitro release kinetics were varying from a complete release after 4 h for Ritonavir to 3 weeks for Sudan III.

Conclusion: This new method was confirmed to be suitable for the preparation of microspheres with the use of a non-toxic solvent and to allow for the entrapment of lipophilic actives and their controlled release.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / methods*
  • Microspheres*
  • Particle Size
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry*
  • Solvents / chemistry*


  • Solvents
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • glycofurol