Rational design and development of a stable liquid formulation of riluzole and its pharmacokinetic evaluation after oral and IV administrations in rats

Mahua Sarkar, Robert G. Grossman, Elizabeth G. Toups, Diana S.L. Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Enterally administered riluzole is currently being investigated in a Phase II/III clinical trial for the treatment of acute spinal cord injury (SCI). Many SCI patients suffer from severe motor dysfunction and exhibit swallowing difficulties and cannot swallow riluzole tablets. The purpose of the present study was to develop a liquid solution formulation of riluzole, which can be administered more easily to this patient population with the capability to adjust the dose if needed. Riluzole was solubilized using water miscible organic solvents, namely, polyethylene glycol 400, propylene glycol and glycerin. A Central Composite Design (CCD) approach was used to develop an optimum co-solvent composition that can solubilize the entire 50 mg dose of riluzole in 5 ml. A three-factor five-level design was employed to investigate the effects of composition of co-solvents on riluzole solubility. The selected optimum formulation consists of 15% v/v PEG 400, 20% v/v propylene glycol and 10% v/v glycerin, with riluzole concentration of 10 mg/ml. The optimum composition was assessed for stability at different temperatures. Satisfactory stability was obtained at room temperature and 4 °C (t90 of 17 and 35 months, respectively). The optimum formulation of riluzole was suitable for both oral and intravenous administrations. Single dose pharmacokinetic studies of the optimum formulation by oral and IV routes were evaluated in rats, using commercially available Rilutek® tablets as a reference. The co-solvent formulation was well tolerated both orally and intravenously. In comparison to the commercial tablet, the co-solvent formulation had a faster rate of absorption and more sustained plasma levels with a significantly longer elimination half-life. Higher concentrations of riluzole in brain and spinal cord were achieved from co-solvent formulation as compared to tablet. The riluzole solution formulation is stable and offers advantages of ease of administration, consistent dosing, rapid onset and longer duration of action, better availability at site of action which can be extremely beneficial for the therapy in SCI patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Central Composite Design
  • Co-solvent
  • Hemolytic potential
  • Intravenous
  • Oral
  • Riluzole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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