Application of diethylene glycol monoethyl ether in solubilization of poorly water-soluble drugs

Eun Sol Ha, Seon Kwang Lee, Du Hyung Choi, Seong Hoon Jeong, Sung Joo Hwang, Min Soo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether (DEGEE) is produced via the O-alkylation of ethanol with two ethylene oxide units, followed by distillation. It has a long history of safe use in food and personal-care products, and is used as an effective strong solubilizer in oral, topical, transdermal, and injectable human and veterinary pharmaceutical products. It has been used as a pharmaceutical solvent for many years under the trade name transcutol. DEGEE, a hydroalcoholic solvent, is gaining interest as a penetration/permeation enhancer, solubilizer, and surfactant for drug delivery systems. Area covered: The physicochemical properties of DEGEE, the solubility data for drugs in DEGEE or DEGEE-water mixtures, and the applications of DEGEE in the solubilization of poorly water-soluble drugs are summarized in this review. Expert opinion: DEGEE is a promising excipient as a solubilizer for many pharmaceutical products with enhanced drug absorption via oral, parenteral, and topical administration, as well as cosmetic products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-250
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Investigation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2017R1C1B1006483).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Korean Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technology.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


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