Gastrointestinal dissolution, supersaturation and precipitation of the weak base indinavir in healthy volunteers

Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2016 Dec;109:122-129. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2016.09.014. Epub 2016 Sep 28.


This study investigated the impact of relevant gastrointestinal conditions on the intraluminal dissolution, supersaturation and precipitation behavior of the weakly basic drug indinavir. The influence of (i) concomitant PPI intake and (ii) the nutritional state on the gastrointestinal behavior of indinavir was assessed in order to identify the underlying mechanisms responsible for previously reported interactions. Five healthy volunteers were recruited into a crossover study containing the following arms: fasted state, fed state and fasted state with concomitant proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use. In each condition, one Crixivan® capsule (400mg indinavir) was orally administered with 240mL of water. Gastric and duodenal fluids, aspirated as a function of time, were monitored for total and dissolved indinavir concentrations on a UPLC-MS/MS system. Indinavir's thermodynamic solubility was determined in individual aspirates to evaluate supersaturation. The bioaccessible fraction of indinavir in aspirated duodenal fluids was determined in an ex vivo permeation experiment through an artificial membrane. A nearly complete dissolution of indinavir in the fasted stomach was observed (90±3%). Regardless of dosing conditions, less indinavir was in solution in the duodenum compared to the stomach. Duodenal supersaturation was observed in all three testing conditions. The highest degrees of duodenal supersaturation (6.5±5.9) were observed in the fasted state. Concomitant PPI use resulted in an increased gastric pH and a smaller fraction of indinavir being dissolved (58±24%), eventually resulting in lower intestinal concentrations. In fed state conditions, drug release from the capsule was delayed and more gradually, although a similar fraction of the intragastric indinavir dissolved compared to the fasted state (83±12%). Indinavir was still present in the lumen of the duodenum three hours after oral administration, although it already reached 70% (on average) of the fasted state concentrations (expressed as AUC0-3h). Based on a 2-h permeation experiment, the bioaccessible fraction of indinavir was 2.6-fold lower in a fed state sample compared to a fasted state sample. Our data indicate that the reported reduction in indinavir's bioavailability after concomitant PPI administration is caused by an elevated gastric pH resulting in less indinavir in solution in the stomach and, subsequently, reduced duodenal concentrations. In fed state conditions, however, intestinal micellar entrapment of indinavir appeared to cause the reported reduced bioavailability, regardless of duodenal concentrations.

Keywords: Biopharmaceutics; Clinical study; Dissolution; Drug interactions; Gastrointestinal; Indinavir sulfate (PubChem CID: 5462355); Oral drug delivery; Precipitation; Supersaturation.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biological Availability
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Food-Drug Interactions
  • Gastric Juice / chemistry
  • Gastrointestinal Contents / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects*
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Indinavir / administration & dosage*
  • Indinavir / chemistry
  • Indinavir / pharmacokinetics
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Micelles
  • Solubility
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Micelles
  • Indinavir