The low water solubility of baricitinib (BCT) limits the development of new formulations for the topical delivery of the drug. The aims of this study were to assess the solubility of BCT in different solvents, including Transcutol, a biocompatible permeation enhancer that is miscible in water, to evaluate the drug uptake in human skin and porcine tissues (sclera, cornea, oral, sublingual, and vaginal), and to subsequently extract the drug from the tissues so as to determine the drug recovery using in vitro techniques. Analytical methods were developed and validated for the quantification of BCT in Transcutol using absorption and fluorescence spectroscopies, which are complementary to each other and permit the detection of the drug across a broad range of concentrations. Results show that Transcutol permits an increased drug solubility, and that BCT is able to penetrate the tissues studied. The solutions of BCT in Transcutol were stable for at least one week. Hence, Transcutol may be a suitable solvent for further development of topical formulations.
Keywords: absorption spectroscopy; baricitinib; drug recovery; drug uptake; fluorescence spectroscopy; in vitro tissue uptake; poorly water-soluble drug; solubility study; stability study.