Liposome Liposomal Drug Formulation – What is it and why is it used?


A liposome liposomal drug formulation is defined as an isolated spherical vesicle composed of at least one lipid and at least one drug molecule dispersed in the liposomal matrix. Liposomes are vesicles, usually having one or more phospholipids (such as dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine DMPC) and cholesterol, which are capable of entrapping water-soluble molecules, including many drugs that are insoluble in water.


A liposome is a spherical lipid bilayer with an aqueous interior. The word liposome comes from the Greek word lipid or lipid body which means to form or shape. The first liposomes were developed in the late 1960s by Professor Robert W. Johnson of Cornell University. They are usually composed of concentric phospholipid bilayers, with the hydrophilic heads on the outside and the hydrophobic tails on the inside, which arrange themselves in a spherical shape with their hydrocarbon chains fully extended.

What is a liposome?

A liposome is a spherical lipid bilayer vesicle that encapsulates an aqueous core. They are made up of a monolayer of phospholipids with their hydrophilic head groups exposed to the exterior, facing the polar environment outside of the liposome, and their hydrophobic tail chains on the inside, facing the interior of the liposomes. The size ranges from about 0.1-4 micrometers in diameter. They have been studied for many years for their potential use in drug delivery applications and other applications such as gene therapy, tissue engineering, cosmetics, and food preservation and as novel carriers for vaccines.

What are the benefits of using a liposome?

Liposomes are concentric spheres made of phospholipids, which can be chemically modified to target specific types of cells. They are often used as a drug delivery system because they have the ability to encapsulate hydrophobic molecules that would not otherwise dissolve in an aqueous environment (like water). This means that liposomes can encapsulate therapeutic agents like drugs, proteins, vaccines, or oligonucleotides for delivery to a patient’s cells. When the therapeutic agent is on board, the liposome has many advantages over other drug delivery systems. For example, liposomes generally form spontaneously when mixed with an aqueous solution (without any extra effort on the part of scientists) and they have superior stability both in vivo and in vitro.

How does the liposome work?

The liposome or lipid bilayer vesicle is a spherical nanostructure that consists of a thin, phospholipid bilayer surrounding an aqueous core. The lipid bilayers have hydrophilic heads that are in contact with the aqueous core and hydrophobic tails that face outwards from the surface of the sphere. The preformulation drug compound stability solubility ial features of the liposomes are typically tailored to optimize its performance for specific applications. For instance, for delivery purposes, the lipids may be chosen to provide greater stability for proteins or peptides.

What are the types of drugs that can be formulated using a liposome?

Drugs that are able to be formulated as liposomes are typically those that need to overcome low water solubility or stability. The most common drugs for liposomal formulation are erythropoietin, interferons, insulin, and chemotherapeutic agents. These drugs tend to be unstable in their non-liposomal form, which often results in a decrease in efficacy. In order to combat this problem, these drugs are reformulated into the lipid bilayer of a liposome so they can maintain stability. In other cases, the drug may have low water solubility which also causes problems when taken orally or intravenously.

Are there any side effects associated with using a liposome?

Side effects are very minimal, but include headache, dizziness, dry mouth, gastrointestinal distress. Some people also experience muscle aches when using liposomes. These side effects usually subside after the first few days of use.

It’s important to take these supplements with plenty of water so they can be properly digested and processed by your body. Taking them on an empty stomach could cause a stomachache or other digestive problems.


The preformulation drug compound stability solubility in liposomes determines their use as drug carriers. The physicochemical characteristics of the lipids in the bilayer, such as melting point, phase transition temperature, permeability, surface tension and membrane flexibility are important factors in determining how they can be employed to deliver a therapeutic molecule. The most important consideration for selecting carrier molecules is whether they will release the active agent at the target site.

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