An Overview on Ionic Liquids: A New Frontier for Nanopharmaceuticals

  • Tânia Santos de Almeida
  • Rita Caparica
  • Ana Júlio
  • Catarina Pinto ReisEmail author
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW, volume 46)


background: the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries are constantly trying to develop new and more efficient delivery systems, as well as new functional ingredients, to overcome drawbacks, such as poor drug solubility, loading and release, as well as reduced stability. these challenges, namely, low drug solubility in water, usually lead to an insufficient systemic exposure and, consequently, low drug bioavailability.

several applications of ionic liquids have been widely studied due to their valuable physicochemical properties. in consequence of this broad applicability, ionic liquids have recently been studied in the pharmaceutical field, particularly as functional excipients to improve the efficiency of drug delivery systems. despite the potential utility of ionic liquids in drug delivery, concerns about their toxicity have been raised, since some of these salts are more toxic than certain organic solvents. hence, studies concerning the safety of ionic liquids are fundamental.

体育赛事投注记录nanoparticles have also been studied to improve the efficiency of drug delivery. the main interest in nanosystems is due to the many advantages these systems may confer, particularly in terms of drug safety and efficiency.

体育赛事投注记录in consequence of the valuable characteristics that both ionic liquids and nanoparticles hold, there has been an emergent interest in the synergetic effects arising from the combination of ionic liquids and nanoparticles. this approach may be key to develop more stable systems, with improved performance. however, for the preparation of these ionic liquid–nanoparticle systems, environmentally friendly procedures need to be developed, and the toxicity of the prepared systems needs to be carefully assessed.

major advances: herein, we reviewed the main characteristics and applicabilities of ionic liquids, as well as the impact of the synthesis and use of these salts on humans and the environment. moreover, we also discuss recent developments in the use of ionic liquids in drug delivery. finally, the prospective combination of ionic liquids and nanosystems towards drug delivery is also explored. in this matter, several studies are presented, showing that the combination of ionic liquids with nanoparticles to produce more efficient delivery systems has great potential. it is shown that ionic liquids improve the chemical and thermal stability of the particles and may change their size and morphology. finally, some concerns about the combination of ionic liquids with nanoparticles, such as regulation gaps and the research needed for the widespread application of these combined systems in pharmaceuticals, are also addressed.


Ionic liquids Toxicity Environment Drug delivery systems Nanopharmaceuticals Ionic liquid and nanoparticle combined systems Enhanced drug solubility and loading Improved performance and stability Size and morphology control Regulatory considerations 



ana júlio would like to thank the foundation for science and technology, i.p., who financed her work under the project udi/dtp/04567/2016.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Tânia Santos de Almeida
    • 1
  • Rita Caparica
    • 2
  • Ana Júlio
    • 2
  • Catarina Pinto Reis
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.CBIOS-Universidade Lusófona’s Research Center for Biosciences & Health TechnologiesLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of AlcaláMadridSpain
  3. 3.iMED.ULisboa, Research Institute for Medicines, Faculdade de FarmáciaUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  4. 4.IBEB, Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering, Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal

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