We developed self-emulsifying water-in-oil (w/o) microemulsions incorporating medium-chain glycerides and measured their conductance, viscosity, refractive index and particle size. Formulation of Calcein (a water-soluble marker molecule, MW = 623), or SK&F 106760 (a water-soluble RGD peptide, MW = 634) in a w/o microemulsion having a composition of Captex 355/Capmul MCM/Tween 80/Aqueous (65/22/10/3, % w/w), resulted in significant bioavailability enhancement in rats relative to their aqueous formulations. Upon intraduodenal administration the bioavailability was enhanced from 2% for Calcein in isotonic Tris, pH 7.4 to 45% in the microemulsion and from 0.5% for SK&F 106760 in physiological saline to 27% in the microemulsion formulation. The microemulsion did not induce gross changes in GI mucosa at a dosing volume of 3.3 ml/kg. These results suggest that water-in-oil microemulsion systems may be utilized for enhancement of intestinal drug absorption.