Formulations For Solubilizing Hormones

  *US10328087B2*
  US010328087B2                                 
(12)United States Patent(10)Patent No.: US 10,328,087 B2
  et al. (45) Date of Patent:Jun.  25, 2019

(54)Formulations for solubilizing hormones 
    
(75)Inventor: TherapeuticsMD, Inc.,  Boca Raton, FL (US) 
(73)Assignee:TherapeuticsMD, Inc.,  Boca Raton, FL (US), Type: US Company 
(*)Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days. 
(21)Appl. No.: 15/217,301 
(22)Filed: Jul.  22, 2016 
(65)Prior Publication Data 
 US 2017/0056418 A1 Mar.  2, 2017 
 Related U.S. Patent Documents 
(60)Provisional application No. 62/196,021, filed on Jul.  23, 2015.
 
Jan.  1, 2013 A 61 K 31 573 F I Jun.  25, 2019 US B H C Jan.  1, 2013 A 61 K 9 0014 L I Jun.  25, 2019 US B H C Jan.  1, 2013 A 61 K 9 06 L I Jun.  25, 2019 US B H C Jan.  1, 2013 A 61 K 9 4825 L I Jun.  25, 2019 US B H C Jan.  1, 2013 A 61 K 9 4858 L I Jun.  25, 2019 US B H C Jan.  1, 2013 A 61 K 47 06 L I Jun.  25, 2019 US B H C Jan.  1, 2013 A 61 K 47 14 L I Jun.  25, 2019 US B H C
(51)Int. Cl. A61K 031/57 (20060101); A61K 009/48 (20060101); A61K 047/06 (20060101); A61P 015/00 (20060101); A61K 031/573 (20060101); A61K 009/00 (20060101); A61K 047/14 (20170101); A61K 009/06 (20060101)

 
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 2007//0042038  A1  2/2007    Besse     
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 2007//0116829  A1  5/2007    Prakash et al.     
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 2007//0148194  A1  6/2007    Amiji et al.     
 2007//0154533  A1  7/2007    Dudley     
 2007//0167418  A1  7/2007    Ferguson     
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 2007//0178166  A1  8/2007    Bernstein et al.     
 2007//0184558  A1  8/2007    Roth et al.     
 2007//0185068  A1  8/2007    Ferguson et al.     
 2007//0190022  A1  8/2007    Bacopoulos et al.     
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 2007//0196415  A1  8/2007    Chen et al.     
 2007//0196433  A1  8/2007    Ron et al.     
 2007//0207225  A1  9/2007    Squadrito     
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 2007//0292359  A1  12/2007    Friedman et al.     
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 2007//0292493  A1  12/2007    Brierre     
 2007//0298089  A1  12/2007    Saeki et al.     
 2008//0026035  A1  1/2008    Chollet et al.     
 2008//0026040  A1  1/2008    Farr et al.     
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 2008//0095831  A1  4/2008    McGraw     
 2008//0095838  A1  4/2008    Abou     
 2008//0102127  A1  5/2008    Gao et al.     
 2008//0113953  A1  5/2008    De Vries et al.     
 2008//0114050  A1  5/2008    Fensome et al.     
 2008//0119537  A1  5/2008    Zhang et al.     
 2008//0125402  A1  5/2008    Diliberti et al.     
 2008//0138379  A1  6/2008    Jennings-Spring     
 2008//0138390  A1  6/2008    Hsu et al.     
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 2008//0145423  A1  6/2008    Khan et al.     
 2008//0153789  A1  6/2008    Dmowski et al.     
 2008//0175814  A1  7/2008    Phiasivongsa et al.     
 2008//0175905  A1  7/2008    Liu et al.     
 2008//0175908  A1  7/2008    Liu et al.     
 2008//0188829  A1  8/2008    Creasy     
 2008//0206156  A1  8/2008    Cronk     
 2008//0206159  A1  8/2008    Tamarkin et al.     
 2008//0206161  A1  8/2008    Tamarkin et al.     
 2008//0214512  A1  9/2008    Seitz et al.     
 2008//0220069  A1  9/2008    Allison     
 2008//0226698  A1  9/2008    Tang et al.     
 2008//0227763  A1  9/2008    Lanquetin et al.     
 2008//0234240  A1  9/2008    Duesterberg et al.     
 2008//0255078  A1  10/2008    Katamreddy     
 2008//0255089  A1  10/2008    Katamreddy     
 2008//0261931  A1  10/2008    Hedner et al.     
 2008//0299220  A1  12/2008    Tamarkin et al.     
 2008//0306036  A1  12/2008    Katamreddy     
 2008//0312197  A1  12/2008    Rodriguez     
 2008//0312198  A1  12/2008    Rodriguez     
 2008//0319078  A1  12/2008    Katamreddy     
 2009//0004246  A1  1/2009    Woolfson et al.     
 2009//0010968  A1  1/2009    Allart et al.     
 2009//0011041  A1  1/2009    Musaeva et al.     
 2009//0017120  A1  1/2009    Trimble et al.     
 2009//0022683  A1  1/2009    Song et al.     
 2009//0047357  A1  2/2009    Tomohira et al.     
 2009//0053294  A1  2/2009    Prendergast     
 2009//0060982  A1  3/2009    Ron et al.     
 2009//0060997  A1  3/2009    Seitz et al.     
 2009//0068118  A1  3/2009    Eini et al.     
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 2009//0081206  A1  3/2009    Leibovitz     
 2009//0081278  A1  3/2009    De Graaff et al.     
 2009//0081303  A1  3/2009    Savoir et al.     
 2009//0088393  A1  4/2009    Spilburg     
 2009//0092656  A1  4/2009    Klamerus et al.     
 2009//0093440  A1  4/2009    Murad     
 2009//0098069  A1  4/2009    Vacca     
 2009//0099106  A1  4/2009    Phiasivongsa et al.     
 2009//0099149  A1  4/2009    Liu et al.     
 2009//0130029  A1  5/2009    Tamarkin et al.     
 2009//0131385  A1  5/2009    Voskuhl     
 2009//0137478  A1  5/2009    Bernstein et al.     
 2009//0137538  A1  5/2009    Klamerus et al.     
 2009//0143344  A1  6/2009    Chang     
 2009//0164341  A1  6/2009    Sunvold et al.     
 2009//0175799  A1  7/2009    Tamarkin et al.     
 2009//0181088  A1  7/2009    Song et al.     
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 2009//0264395  A1  10/2009    Creasy     
 2009//0269403  A1  10/2009    Shaked et al.     
 2009//0285772  A1  11/2009    Phiasivongsa et al.     
 2009//0285869  A1  11/2009    Trimble     
 2009//0318558  A1  12/2009    Kim et al.     
 2009//0324714  A1  12/2009    Liu et al.     
 2009//0325916  A1  12/2009    Zhang et al.     
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       WO       WO-9/939700       A1                8/1999      
       WO       WO-9/942109       A1                8/1999      
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     * cited by examiner
 
     Primary Examiner —Irina Neagu
     Art Unit — 1627
     Exemplary claim number — 1
 
(74)Attorney, Agent, or Firm — Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C.

(57)

Abstract

Compositions and methods for the solubilization of steroid hormones are disclosed.
6 Claims, 12 Drawing Sheets, and 12 Figures


CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Pat. Appl. No. 62/196,021, filed Jul. 23, 2015, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

[0002] This disclosure relates to the field of steroid hormones. Specifically, this disclosure provides compositions for improving the solubility of steroid hormones.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Steroid hormones, synthesized and secreted into the bloodstream by endocrine glands, are vital constituents for the proper functioning of the human body. Steroid hormones can be classified into five groups based on the receptors to which they bind, namely: glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, androgens, estrogens, and progestogens. It is known that steroid hormones aid in regulating metabolism, regulating water and salt function, regulating immune function, controlling inflammation, and developing sexual characteristics. Steroid hormones such as progesterone and estradiol have poor bioavailability and efficacy as these hormones are less soluble in water. Thus, these hormones need to be administered in a high dose, which can result in increased health risks.
[0004] Progesterone is a naturally occurring C-21 steroid hormone belonging to the progestogen class. It is produced by the ovaries (more precisely by the cells of the corpus luteum) during the post-ovulatory luteal phase and to a lesser degree by the adrenal glands and the placenta during the second part of pregnancy. In women, progesterone levels are relatively low during the pre-ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle, rise after ovulation, and are elevated during the luteal phase. Progesterone is commonly referred to as the “hormone of pregnancy” as it plays an important role in fetal development. Insufficient secretion of progesterone in women can cause biological effects such as progestative effect, anti-androgen effect, and anti-estrogen effect. Further, progesterone insufficiency can lead to premenstrual syndromes and menstrual irregularities.
[0005] Progesterone and its analogues are used to support pregnancy in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) cycles, to control persistent ovulatory bleeding, to prepare the uterine lining in infertility therapy, and to support early pregnancy. Further, progesterone can be used for regularizing menstruation. Vaginally dosed progesterone is also being investigated for a potentially beneficial treatment in preventing preterm birth in women who are at the risk of preterm birth.
[0006] Progesterone does not dissolve in water and is poorly absorbed resulting in both intra- and inter-patient variability when orally administered. To overcome the drawbacks of poor bioavailability associated with natural progesterone, researchers have used various synthetic progesterone derivatives such as medroxyprogesterone, norethisterone, methylestrenolone, chlormadinone acetate, 6-dehydroretroprogesterone, and lynestrenol. But use of these derivatives are associated with side-effects not associated with natural progesterone.
[0007] U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,196,188; 5,140,021; 7,431,941; 7,829,115; and U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2011/0135719 are hereby incorporated by reference.

SUMMARY

[0008] This disclosure provides compositions comprising a solubilized steroid hormone and at least one terpene. In certain embodiments, the steroid hormone can be a progestogen, such as progesterone. In other embodiments, the steroid hormone can be estrogen. And in still further embodiments, the steroid hormone can be a combination of estrogen and progesterone. In certain embodiments, the terpene can be a monocyclic terpene such as limonene.
[0009] This disclosure also provides methods of treating, inhibiting, or preventing a condition or disorder characterized by a steroid hormone deficiency. The methods comprise administering to a subject a therapeutically effective amount of at least one composition disclosed herein.
[0010] In certain embodiments, this disclosure provides a liquid composition comprising progesterone, estradiol, or a combination thereof, and a terpene.
[0011] In certain embodiments, the terpene is d-limonene.
[0012] In certain embodiments, the composition comprises progesterone.
[0013] In certain embodiments, the composition comprises progesterone and the terpene is d-limonene.
[0014] In certain embodiments, the liquid composition is encapsulated in a soft gelatin capsule.
[0015] In certain embodiments, the liquid composition further comprises an antioxidant.
[0016] In certain embodiments, the antioxidant is selected from the group consisting of α-tocopherol acetate, acetone sodium bisulfite, acetylcysteine, ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), cysteine, cysteine hydrochloride, α-tocopherol, dithiothreitol, monothioglycerol, nordihydroguaiaretic acid, propyl gallate, sodium bisulfite, sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate, sodium metabisulfite, sodium sulfite, sodium thiosulfate, thiourea, tocopherol, and combinations thereof.
[0017] This disclosure also provides a method of treating amenorrhea or endometrial hyperplasia in a patient in need thereof comprising administering to the patient an effective amount of the liquid composition described herein.
[0018] In certain embodiments, the administering comprises orally administering the composition, sublingually administering the composition, topically administering the composition, vaginally administering the composition, rectally administering the composition, or a combination thereof.
[0019] In certain embodiments the administering comprises orally administering the liquid composition, vaginally administering the liquid composition, rectally administering the liquid composition, or a combination thereof.
[0020] In certain embodiments of the method described herein, the liquid composition is encapsulated in a soft gelatin capsule.
[0021] In certain embodiments of the method described herein, the liquid composition further comprises an antioxidant.
[0022] In certain embodiments, the antioxidant is selected from the group consisting of α-tocopherol acetate, acetone sodium bisulfite, acetylcysteine, ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), cysteine, cysteine hydrochloride, α-tocopherol, dithiothreitol, monothioglycerol, nordihydroguaiaretic acid, propyl gallate, sodium bisulfite, sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate, sodium metabisulfite, sodium sulfite, sodium thiosulfate, thiourea, tocopherol, and combinations thereof.
[0023] In certain embodiments of the method described herein, the liquid composition comprises from about 25 mg of progesterone to about 500 mg of progesterone.
[0024] In some embodiments of the method described herein, the liquid composition comprises about 25, about 50, about 75, about 100, about 125, about 150, about 175, about 200, about 225, about 250, about 275, about 300, about 325, about 350, about 375, about 400, about 425, about 450, about 475, or about 500 mg of progesterone.
[0025] In certain embodiments of the liquid composition described herein, the composition comprises at least about 80% w/w d-limonene.
[0026] In certain embodiments, the liquid composition further comprises an antioxidant.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS/FIGURES

[0027] The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended figures. For the purpose of illustration, the figures may describe the use of specific embodiments. It should be understood, however, that this disclosure is not limited to the prices embodiments discussed or described in these figures.
[0028] FIG. 1 shows Cream 1 as described herein viewed with a birefringence microscope using non-polarized light (10×40).
[0029] FIG. 2 shows Cream 1 as described herein viewed with a birefringence microscope using polarized light (10×40).
[0030] FIG. 3 shows Cream 2 as described herein viewed with a birefringence microscope using non-polarized light (10×40).
[0031] FIG. 4 shows Cream 2 as described herein viewed with a birefringence microscope using polarized light (10×40).
[0032] FIGS. 5 and 6 show uterine weight data collected for rats treated with estradiol or estradiol/progesterone after ovariectomy.
[0033] FIG. 7 shows uterine histologic specimens (stained with hematoxylin and eosin) collected from rats treated with estradiol or estradiol/progesterone after ovariectomy.
[0034] FIG. 8 shows vaginal histologic specimens (stained with hematoxylin and eosin) collected from rats treated with estradiol or estradiol/progesterone after ovariectomy.
[0035] FIG. 9 shows the change in progesterone levels following administration of an exemplary progesterone/estradiol cream in human subjects. Changes over baseline progesterone levels as determined from fingertip capillary blood, saliva, and serum samples are shown.
[0036] FIG. 10 shows the data of FIG. 9 plotted on a log scale.
[0037] FIG. 11 shows the change in estradiol levels following administration of an exemplary progesterone/estradiol cream in human subjects. Changes over baseline estradiol levels as determined from fingertip capillary blood, saliva, and serum samples are shown.
[0038] FIG. 12 shows the data of FIG. 11 plotted on a log scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Definitions

[0039] The singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.
[0040] As used herein, the term “or” shall be understood to be defined as a logical disjunction (i.e., and/or) and shall not indicate an exclusive disjunction unless expressly indicated as such with the terms “either,” “unless,” “alternatively,” and words of similar effect.
[0041] As used herein, the term “about” refers to ±5% of the specified value, unless otherwise specified.
[0042] As used herein, the terms “host,” “subject,” and “patient” refer to any animal, including humans.
[0043] The term “micronized” as used herein, refers to particles having an X50 particle size value below about 15 microns or having an X90 particle size value below about 25 microns. In some embodiments, a micronized particle can have an X90 particle size of less than 5 microns. The term “X50” means that one-half of the particles in a sample are smaller in diameter than a given number. For example, a micronized particle having an X50 of 5 microns means that, for a given sample of the micronized particle, one-half of the particles have a diameter of less than 5 microns. Similarly, the term “X90” means that ninety percent (90%) of the particles in a sample are smaller in diameter than a given number.
[0044] As used herein, the term “prevent” refers to the prophylactic treatment of a subject who is at risk of developing a condition (e.g., steroid hormone deficiency) resulting in a decrease in the probability that the subject will develop the condition.
[0045] The term “treat” as used herein refers to any type of treatment that imparts a benefit to a patient afflicted with a disorder, including, but not limited to, improving the patient's condition by reducing or inhibiting one or more symptoms of the disorder or delaying the progression of the disorder. In a particular embodiment, the treatment of a steroid hormone deficiency results in at least an increase in the level of the steroid hormone in the subject.
[0046] The phrase “therapeutically effective amount” refers to an amount of a composition or of a given steroid hormone suitable to treat a particular disorder or disease.
[0047] A “carrier” refers to, for example, a diluent, adjuvant, preservative (e.g., benzyl alcohol), antioxidant (e.g., ascorbic acid, sodium metabisulfite, etc.), solubilizer (e.g., polysorbate 80), emulsifier, buffer (e.g., Tris HCl, acetate, phosphate), water, aqueous solutions, oils, bulking substance (e.g., lactose, mannitol), cryo-/lyo-protectants, tonicity modifier, excipient, auxiliary agent or vehicle with which an active agent of the present invention can be administered. Suitable pharmaceutical carriers are described in “Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences” by E. W. Martin (Mack Publishing Co., Easton, Pa.); Gennaro, A. R., Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy, (Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins); Liberman, etal., Eds., Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms, Marcel Decker, New York, N.Y.; and Kibbe, etal., Eds., Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients, American Pharmaceutical Association, Washington.
[0048] As used herein, the phrase “substantially pure” means that an identified component is at least about 90% pure by weight, in certain embodiments, at least about 95% pure by weight, and in still further embodiments, at least about 98% pure by weight.
[0049] As used herein, the phrase “steroid hormone” refers to endogenous female sex hormones including, but not limited to, progesterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, 5α-dihydroprogesterone, 11-deoxycorticosterone, estradiol, estriol, and estrone.
[0050] As used herein, the term “d-limonene” refers to (4R)-1-methyl-4-(1-methylethenyl)-cyclohexene (CAS No. 5989-27-5), which is also known by synonyms including (+)-4-isopropenyl-1-methylcyclohexe, (+)-p-mentha-1,8-diene, and (R)-(+)-Limonene.
[0051] The term “area under the curve” (“AUC”) refers to the area under the curve defined by changes in the blood concentration of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (e.g., progesterone or estradiol), or a metabolite of the active pharmaceutical ingredient, over time following the administration of a dose of the active pharmaceutical ingredient. “AUC0-∞” is the area under the concentration-time curve extrapolated to infinity following the administration of a dose. “AUC0-t” is the area under the concentration-time curve from time zero to time t following the administration of a dose, wherein t is the last time point with a measurable concentration.
[0052] The term “Cmax” refers to the maximum value of blood concentration shown on the curve that represents changes in blood concentrations of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (e.g., progesterone or estradiol), or a metabolite of the active pharmaceutical ingredient, over time.
[0053] The term “tmax” refers to the earliest time at which the blood concentration of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (e.g., progesterone or estradiol), or a metabolite of the active pharmaceutical ingredient is at its maximum value.
[0054] The term “estradiol” refers to (17β)-estra-1,3,5(10)-triene-3,17-diol. Estradiol is also interchangeably called 17β-estradiol, oestradiol, or E2, and is found endogenously in the human body. As used herein, estradiol refers to the bio-identical or body-identical form of estradiol found in the human body having the structure:
[0055]  [see pdf for image]
[0056] Estradiol is supplied in an anhydrous or hemi-hydrate form. For the purposes of this disclosure, the anhydrous form or the hemihydrate form can be substituted for the other by accounting for the water or lack of water according to well-known and understood techniques.
[0057] The term “progesterone” refers to pregn-4-ene-3,20-dione. Progesterone is also interchangeably called P4 and is found endogenously in the human body. As used herein, progesterone refers to the bio-identical or body-identical form of progesterone found in the human body and having the structure:
[0058]  [see pdf for image]
[0059] The term “medium chain” is used to describe the aliphatic chain length of fatty acid containing molecules. “Medium chain” specifically refers to fatty acids, fatty acid esters, or fatty acid derivatives that contain fatty acid aliphatic tails or carbon chains that contain, for example, 6 to 14 carbon atoms, 8 to 12 carbon atoms, or 8 to 10 carbon atoms.
[0060] The terms “medium chain fatty acid” and “medium chain fatty acid derivative” are used to describe fatty acids or fatty acid derivatives with aliphatic tails (i.e., carbon chains) having 6 to 14 carbon atoms. Fatty acids consist of an unbranched or branched aliphatic tail attached to a carboxylic acid functional group. Fatty acid derivatives include, for example, fatty acid esters and fatty acid containing molecules, including, without limitation, mono-, di- and triglycerides that include components derived from fatty acids. Fatty acid derivatives also include fatty acid esters of ethylene or propylene glycol. The aliphatic tails can be saturated or unsaturated (i.e., the latter having one or more double bonds between carbon atoms). In some embodiments, the aliphatic tails are saturated (i.e., no double bonds between carbon atoms). Medium chain fatty acids or medium chain fatty acid derivatives include those with aliphatic tails having 6-14 carbons, including those that are C6-C14, C6-C12, C8-C14, C8-C12, C6-C10, C8-C10, or others. Examples of medium chain fatty acids include, without limitation, caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, lauric acid, myristic acid, and derivatives thereof. In certain embodiments, the medium chain fatty acids used to prepare the various medium chain oils described herein are C8, C10, or a combination thereof.
[0061] The term “oil,” as used herein, refers to any pharmaceutically acceptable oil, especially medium chain oils, and specifically excluding peanut oil, that can suspend or solubilize bioidentical progesterone or estradiol, including starting materials or precursors thereof, including micronized progesterone and/or micronized estradiol as described herein.
[0062] The term “medium chain oil” refers to an oil wherein the composition of the fatty acid fraction of the oil is substantially medium chain (i.e., C6 to C14) fatty acids, i.e., the composition profile of fatty acids in the oil is substantially medium chain. As used herein, “substantially” means that between 20% and 100% (inclusive of the upper and lower limits) of the fatty acid fraction of the oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids, i.e., fatty acids with aliphatic tails (i.e., carbon chains) having 6 to 14 carbons. In some embodiments, about 25%, about 30%, about 35%, about 40%, about 45%, about 50%, about 55%, about 60%, about 65%, about 70%, about 75%, about 85%, about 90% or about 95% of the fatty acid fraction of the oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids. Those of skill in the art will readily appreciate that the terms “alkyl content” or “alkyl distribution” of an oil can be used in place of the term “fatty acid fraction” of an oil in characterizing a given oil or solubilizing agent, and these terms are used interchangeably herein. As such, medium chain oils suitable for use in the pharmaceutical compositions disclosed herein include medium chain oils wherein the fatty acid fraction of the oil is substantially medium chain fatty acids, or medium chain oils wherein the alkyl content or alkyl distribution of the oil is substantially medium chain alkyls e.g., C6-C14 alkyls, but also including, for example, C6-C12 alkyls, C8-C12 alkyls, and C8-C10 alkyls. It will be understood by those of skill in the art that the medium chain oils suitable for use in the pharmaceutical compositions disclosed herein are pharmaceutical grade (e.g., pharmaceutical grade medium chain oils). Examples of medium chain oils include, for example and without limitation, medium chain fatty acids, medium chain fatty acid esters of glycerol (e.g., for example, mono-, di-, and triglycerides), medium chain fatty acid esters of propylene glycol, medium chain fatty acid derivatives of polyethylene glycol, and combinations thereof.
[0063] The term “ECN” or “equivalent carbon number” means the sum of the number of carbon atoms in the fatty acid chains of an oil, and can be used to characterize an oil as, for example, a medium chain oil or a long-chain oil. For example, tripalmitin (tripalmitic glycerol), which is a simple triglyceride containing three fatty acid chains of 16 carbon atoms, has an ECN of 3×16=48. Conversely, a triglyceride with an ECN=40 may have “mixed” fatty acid chain lengths of 8, 16, and 16; 10, 14, and 16; 8, 14, and 18; etc. Naturally occurring oils are frequently “mixed” with respect to specific fatty acids, but tend not to contain both long chain fatty acids and medium chain fatty acids in the same glycerol backbone. Thus, triglycerides with ECN's of 21-42 typically contain predominately medium chain fatty acids; while triglycerides with ECN's of greater than 43 typically contain predominantly long chain fatty acids. For example, the ECN of corn oil triglyceride in the USP would be in the range of 51-54. Medium chain diglycerides with ECN's of 12-28 will often contain predominately medium chain fatty chains, while diglycerides with ECN's of 32 or greater will typically contain predominately long chain fatty acid tails. Monoglycerides will have an ECN that matches the chain length of the sole fatty acid chain. Thus, monoglyceride ECN's in the range of 6-14 contain mainly medium chain fatty acids, and monoglycerides with ECN's 16 or greater will contain mainly long chain fatty acids.
[0064] The average ECN of a medium chain triglyceride oil is typically 21-42. For example, as listed in the US Pharmacopeia (USP), medium chain triglycerides have the following composition as the exemplary oil set forth in the table below:
[0065] 
[00001] [TABLE-US-00001]
 
  Fatty-acid Tail Length   % of oil   Exemplary Oil
 
 
  6   ≤2.0   2.0
  8   50.0-80.0   70.0
  10   20.0-50.0   25.0
  12   ≤3.0   2.0
  14   ≤1.0   1.0
 

and would have an average ECN of 3*[(6*0.02)+(8*0.70)+(10*0.25)+(12*0.02)+(14*0.01)]=25.8. The ECN of the exemplary medium chain triglycerides oil can also be expressed as a range (per the ranges set forth in the USP) of 24.9-27.0. For oils that have mixed mono-, di-, and triglycerides, or single and double fatty acid glycols, the ECN of the entire oil can be determined by calculating the ECN of each individual component (e.g., C8 monoglycerides, C8 diglycerides, C10 monoglycerides, and C10 diglycerides) and taking the sum of the relative percentage of the component multiplied by the ECN normalized to a monoglyceride for each component. For example, an oil having C8 and C10 mono- and diglycerides shown in the table below has an ECN of 8.3, and is thus a medium chain oil.
[0066] 
[00002] [TABLE-US-00002]
 
      ECN as % of oil   ECN as % of oil
  Fatty-acid   % of   (chain length) ×   normalized to
  ChainLength   oil   (% in oil)   monoglyceride
 
 
  C8 monoglyceride   47    8 × 0.47 = 3.76   3.76
  C10 monoglyceride   8   10 × 0.08 = 0.8   0.8
  C8 diglyceride   38   2 × (8 × 0.38) = 6.08   6.08/2 = 3.04
  C10 diglyceride   7   2 × (10 × 0.07) = 1.4   1.4/2 = 0.7
  OIL ECN (normalized       8.3
  to monoglycerides)
 
[0067] Expressed differently, ECN can be calculated as each chain length in the composition multiplied by its relative percentage in the oil: (8*0.85)+(10*0.15)=8.3.
[0068] The term “polysorbate” refers to a compound having the structure:
[0069]  [see pdf for image]
wherein w+x+y+z ranges from about 10 to about 50, and in particular embodiments, from about 10 to about 30, and wherein R is a C6-C18 fatty acid radical. Exemplary polysorbates within the scope of the present definition include, but are not limited to, polysorbate 20, polysorbate 40, polysorbate 60, polysorbate 65, and polysorbate 80.
[0070] This disclosure provides methods for improving the solubility of a steroid hormone such as progesterone, estradiol, or a combination of these steroid hormones. This disclosure also provides compositions comprising at least one steroid hormone and at least one solubilizing agent, as well as methods of preparing the same. The compositions provided by this disclosure can be in the form of a unit dosage product and can exhibit improved dissolution profiles, bioavailability, or higher stability relative to currently marketed products. The compositions provided by this disclosure can also be non-allergic or non-antigenic. This disclosure also encompasses use of a terpene such as limonene for improving the solubility of steroid hormones. This disclosure also provides methods of treating physiological conditions linked to an insufficiency of one or more steroid hormones, wherein the method comprises administering a composition disclosed herein to a subject in need thereof.
[0071] Without wishing to be bound by any particular theory, it is believed that the compositions and methods described herein address the problems associated with known steroid hormone formulations such as poor solubility, poor bioavailability, and poor stability. More specifically, it has now been discovered that terpenes are unexpectedly effective in enhancing the solubility of insoluble steroid hormones such as progesterone and likewise act as excellent penetration enhancers for these same compounds. In particular embodiments, the cyclic terpene d-limonene significantly enhances the solubility and penetration of steroid hormones such as progesterone, rendering the resultant steroid hormone composition more stable. The compositions can also have any combination of enhanced dissolution rates, penetration capabilities, absorption, and bioavailability. For example, d-limonene was found to have excellent solubilizing properties for progesterone, as shown in Table 1, below.
[0072] 
[00003] [TABLE-US-00003]
  TABLE 1
 
      Concentration of Progesterone
    Solvent   (mg/g) for clear solution
 
 
    d-Limonene   204.0
    Absolute Ethanol   57
 
[0073] d-Limonene is a colorless, liquid hydrocarbon. d-Limonene is classified as a cyclic terpene and is a major constituent in various citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, mandarin, lime, and grapefruit. d-limonene can be obtained, for example, from citrus fruits by centrifugal separation and steam distillation methods or can be purchased from one or more commercial suppliers.
[0074] In certain embodiments, this disclosure provides compositions comprising at least one steroid hormone and at least one terpene. In certain embodiments, the terpene can be d-limonene and the steroid hormone can be progesterone, estradiol, or a combination thereof. In certain embodiments, the composition can further comprise at least one pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. In certain embodiments, in addition to or in place of the carrier, the compositions disclosed herein can also comprise at least one additional additive, including, without limitation, co-solvents, thickening agents, triglycerides, or suspending agents. In other embodiments, however, the formulation can be completely or substantially free of these additives. In certain embodiments, the compositions disclosed herein can be substantially or completely peanut oil free.
[0075] In certain embodiments, the compositions disclosed herein can comprise from about 0.05% to about 50% w/w; about 0.1% to about 40% w/w; or about 0.5% to about 25% w/w of the steroid hormone. In certain embodiments, the composition can have from about 0.05% w/w steroid hormone to about 20% w/w steroid hormone. In certain embodiments, the steroid hormone can be progesterone. In other embodiments, the steroid hormone can be a mixture of progesterone and estradiol. In certain embodiments, the compositions can comprise up to about 10% w/w progesterone, up to about 11% w/w progesterone, up to about 12% w/w progesterone, up to about 13% w/w progesterone, up to about 14% w/w progesterone, up to about 15% w/w progesterone, up to about 16% w/w progesterone, or up to about 17% w/w progesterone. In other embodiments, the compositions can comprise about 10% w/w progesterone, about 11% w/w progesterone, about 12% w/w progesterone, about 13% w/w progesterone, about 14% w/w progesterone, about 15% w/w progesterone, about 16% w/w progesterone, or about 17% w/w progesterone.
[0076] Although the steroid hormone used to formulate the composition can have any particle size, such as, for example only, an average particle size of less than about 100 microns. In certain embodiments, the steroid hormone can be micronized. Without wishing to be bound by any particular, theory, it is believed that steroid hormones having a smaller average particle size will be more soluble in the composition, thus enabling a reduction in the quantity of steroid hormone in the composition necessary to achieve the desired efficacy.
[0077] Terpenes are the primary constituents of the essential oils of many types of plants and flowers and are typically formed directly from one or more isoprene (C5H8) units. Terpenes can be naturally occurring or prepared synthetically. Terpenes can be obtained from their natural source, for example, isolated from a natural oil such as citrus oil or orange oil, and optionally purified to be substantially pure, or synthesized chemically. In certain embodiments, the terpene can be a terpenoid. Examples of terpenes are provided, for example, in Dev et al., “CRC Handbook of Terpenoids: Acyclic, Monocyclic, Bicyclic, Tricyclic, and Tetracyclic Terpenoids” (1989) CRC Press Inc.; Hanson, J. R., Annu. Rep. Prog. Chem., Sect. B: Org. Chem., (1985) 82, 353-375; and Degenhardt et al., Phytochemistry (2009) 70:1621-1637. The terpene can be linear or cyclic (including aromatic). A cyclic terpene can be a monocyclic terpene or a bicyclic terpene compound. In a particular embodiment, the cyclic terpene can be a monocyclic terpene. In certain embodiments, the cyclic terpene can be non-aromatic. Examples of cyclic terpenes include, without limitation, limonene (as d-limonene, 1-Limonene, or a mixture thereof), phellandrene (alpha or beta), camphor, menthol, menthene, carvone, terpinene (alpha, beta, or gamma), terpineol (alpha, beta, or gamma), alpha-ionone, thujone, and derivatives thereof. In certain embodiments, the cyclic terpene is limonene, menthene, menthol, phellandrene, terpinene, or terpineol. In other embodiments, the terpene is d-limonene.
[0078] In certain embodiments, the compositions disclosed herein can comprise from about 0.5% to about 95.5% w/w; about 0.5% to about 50% w/w; about 1% to about 25% w/w; or about 1% to about 10% w/w of terpene. In particular embodiments, the composition can comprise at least about 80% w/w terpene and in further embodiments, about 81% w/w terpene, about 82% w/w terpene, about 83% w/w terpene, about 84% w/w terpene, about 85% w/w terpene, about 86% w/w terpene, about 87% w/w terpene, about 88% w/w terpene, about 89% w/w terpene, about 90% w/w terpene, about 91% w/w terpene, about 92% w/w terpene, about 93% w/w terpene, about 94% w/w terpene, about 95% w/w terpene, about 96% w/w terpene, about 97% w/w terpene, about 98% w/w terpene, or about 99% w/w terpene. In particular embodiments, the composition can comprise from about 80% w/w terpene to about 99% w/w terpene, and in other embodiments, from about 80% w/w terpene to about 85% w/w terpene, or from about 80% w/w terpene to about 83% w/w terpene.
[0079] In certain embodiments, the terpene is d-limonene. In particular embodiments, the composition can comprise at least about 80% w/w d-limonene and in further embodiments, about 81% w/w d-limonene, about 82% w/w d-limonene, about 83% w/w d-limonene, about 84% w/w d-limonene, about 85% w/w d-limonene, about 86% w/w d-limonene, about 87% w/w d-limonene, about 88% w/w d-limonene, about 89% w/w d-limonene, about 90% w/w d-limonene, about 91% w/w d-limonene, about 92% w/w d-limonene, about 93% w/w d-limonene, about 94% w/w d-limonene, about 95% w/w d-limonene, about 96% w/w d-limonene, about 97% w/w d-limonene, about 98% w/w d-limonene, or about 99% w/w d-limonene. In particular embodiments, the composition can comprise from about 80% w/w d-limonene to about 99% w/w d-limonene, and in other embodiments, from about 80% w/w d-limonene to about 85% w/w d-limonene, or from about 80% w/w d-limonene to about 83% w/w d-limonene.
[0080] In other embodiments, the compositions disclosed herein can comprise a terpene, such as, but not limited to, d-limonene, in an amount sufficient to enhance penetration of the steroid hormone. In such embodiments, the composition can comprise less than about 80% w/w based on the total weight of the composition. In other embodiments, the composition comprises about 5% to about 75% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 70% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 65% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 60% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 55% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 50% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 45% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 40% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 35% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 30% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 25% w/w terpene, about 5% to about 15% w/w terpene, or about 5% to about 10% w/w terpene. In these embodiments, the remainder of the composition can comprise one or more pharmaceutically acceptable solvents suitable for suspending or dissolving at least a portion of the steroid hormone present in the composition. Suitable pharmaceutically acceptable solvents for suspending or dissolving a steroid hormone are known to those of ordinary skill in the art and include, but are not limited to, medium chain oils and pharmaceutically acceptable alcohols.
[0081] In certain embodiments, this disclosure provides a micelle-forming pharmaceutical composition providing enhanced oral bioavailability of a steroid hormone, such as progesterone, wherein the pharmaceutical composition can comprise a steroid hormone, such as progesterone, a polysorbate, a medium chain oil, and a terpene such as d-limonene.
[0082] In certain embodiments, the medium chain oil in the pharmaceutical composition can comprise at least about 50 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride. In certain embodiments, the medium chain monoglyceride and progesterone can be present at a weight ratio of about 8:1 to about 15:1, about 9:1 to about 15:1, about 9:1 to about 14:1, about 9:1 to about 13:1, about 9:1 to about 12:1, about 9:1 to about 11:1, or about 10:1. In particular embodiments, the medium chain monoglyceride and progesterone can be present in a ratio of about 10:1.
[0083] In certain embodiments, the polysorbate can comprise from about 1 weight percent to about 15 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition and in particular embodiments, can be about 1 weight percent, about 2 weight percent, about 3 weight percent, about 4 weight percent, about 5 weight percent, about 6 weight percent, about 7 weight percent, about 8 weight percent, about 9 weight percent, about 10 weight percent, about 11 weight percent, about 12 weight percent, about 13 weight percent, about 14 weight percent, or about 15 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition. In particular embodiments, the polysorbate can be about 5 weight percent or about 7 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition.
[0084] In certain embodiments, the steroid hormone and the polysorbate present in the pharmaceutical composition are present in a weight ratio of about 1:2 to about 2:1.
[0085] In certain embodiments, the polysorbate can be selected from the group consisting of polysorbate 20, polysorbate 40, polysorbate 60, polysorbate 65, and polysorbate 80. These polysorbates are commercially available and well known to those of skill in the art. In certain embodiments, the polysorbate can be polysorbate 80. In even more particular embodiments, the polysorbate 80 can comprise about 5 weight percent or about 7 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition.
[0086] In certain embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise from about 50 weight percent to about 90 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition. In particular embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise from about 60 weight percent to about 90 weight percent, from about 65 weight percent to about 90 weight percent, from about 70 weight percent to about 90 weight percent, from about 75 weight percent to about 90 weight percent, or from about 75 weight percent to about 85 weight percent. In particular embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise about 80 weight percent or about 85 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition.
[0087] In certain embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise a single medium chain oil component. In other embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise a first medium chain oil component and a second medium chain oil component. In still further embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise a first medium chain oil component, a second medium chain oil component, and a third medium chain oil component. In still further embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise first, second, third and fourth; first, second, third, fourth, and fifth; or first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth medium chain oil components.
[0088] In certain embodiments, the medium chain oil components themselves can be multi-component oils. For example, certain medium chain oils comprise a mixture of mono and diglycerides or a mixture of mono-, di-, and triglycerides, etc.
[0089] In particular embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise a first medium chain oil component and a second medium chain oil component, with the first medium chain oil component comprising from about 30 weight percent to about 98 weight percent of the medium chain oil. In other embodiments, the first medium chain oil component can comprise from about 40 weight percent to about 95 weight percent of the medium chain oil. In still further embodiments, the first medium chain oil component can comprise from about 50 weight percent to about 90 weight percent of the medium chain oil.
[0090] In certain embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise at least about 50 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride. In particular embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise at least about at least about 55 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about at least about 60 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 65 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 70 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 71 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 72 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 73 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 74 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 75 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 76 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 77 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 78 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 79 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 80 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 81 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 82 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 83 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 84 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 85 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 86 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 87 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 88 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, at least about 89 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride, or at least about 90 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride. In certain embodiments, the medium chain oil can comprise at least about 85 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride and in an even further embodiment, the medium chain oil can comprise at least about 90 weight percent of a medium chain monoglyceride.
[0091] The medium chain monoglyceride can be, predominantly, a single medium chain monoglyceride, such as glyceryl monocaproate, glyceryl monocaprylate, glyceryl monocaprate, glyceryl monolaurate, or glyceryl monomyristate. These monoglycerides are well known to those of ordinary skill in the art and are available in various commercial embodiments, including from ABITEC Corp, a division of Associated British Food, PLC, as CAPMUL 708G, CAPMUL 808G, CAPMUL MCM C8, and CAPMUL MCM C10. In particular embodiments, the medium chain monoglyceride can be, predominantly, a single medium chain monoglyceride such as glyceryl monocaproate, glyceryl monocaprylate, or glyceryl monocaprate. In specific embodiments, the medium chain monoglyceride can be, predominantly, glyceryl monocaprylate, commercially available as CAPMUL 708G.
[0092] In other embodiments, the medium chain monoglyceride can comprise a mixture of medium chain monoglycerides, such as a combination of two or more of glyceryl monocaproate, glyceryl monocaprylate, glyceryl monocaprate, glyceryl monolaurate, or glyceryl monomyristate. In particular embodiments, the mixture of medium chain monoglycerides can be a mixture of glyceryl monocaprylate and glyceryl monocaprate. In embodiments such as this, the glyceryl monocaprylate can comprise at least about 80 weight percent, at least about 85 weight percent, at least about 86 weight percent, at least about 87 weight percent, at least about 88 weight percent, at least about 88 weight percent, at least about 89 weight percent, or at least about 90 weight percent of the mixture of monoglycerides.
[0093] In certain embodiment, in addition to comprising a medium chain monoglyceride, the medium chain oil can further comprise one or more medium chain diglycerides. The one or more medium chain diglycerides can be simple diglycerides, such as glyceryl dicaproate, glyceryl dicaprylate, glyceryl dicaprate, glyceryl dilaurate, or glyceryl dimyristate. Alternatively, the one or more medium chain diglycerides can be mixed or complex diglycerides such as glyceryl caproate/caprylate, glyceryl caproate/caprate, glyceryl caproate/laurate, glyceryl caproate/myristate, glyceryl caprylate/caprate, glyceryl caprylate/laurate, glyceryl caprylate/myristate, glyceryl caprate/laurate, glyceryl caprate/myristate, or glyceryl laurate/myristate. In specific embodiments, the one or more medium chain diglycerides can be glyceryl caprylate/caprate. Exemplary commercially available medium chain diglycerides include, but are not limited to, CAPMUL 471, CAPMUL MCM, CAPMUL MCM NF, CAPMUL MCM EP, and IMWITOR 742. The CAPMULs are commercially available from ABITEC Corp.
[0094] The one or more medium chain diglycerides can comprise up to about 10 weight percent of the medium chain oil or alternatively from about 5 to about 10 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition. In particular embodiments, the one or more medium chain diglycerides can comprise about 5 weight percent, about 6 weight percent, about 7 weight percent, about 8 weight percent, about 9 weight percent, or about 10 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition. In specific embodiments, the one or more medium chain diglycerides can comprise about from about 8 to about 9 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, such as about 8 weight percent, about 8.1 weight percent, about 8.2 weight percent, about 8.3 weight percent, about 8.4 weight percent, about 8.5 weight percent, about 8.6 weight percent, about 8.7 weight percent, about 8.8 weight percent, about 8.9 weight percent, or about 9 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition.
[0095] In certain embodiments, the one or more medium chain diglycerides can be glyceryl caprylate/caprate and the pharmaceutical composition can comprise about 8 weight percent to about 9 weight percent of this component. A commercially available component suitable for use in the pharmaceutical composition is CAPMUL MCM NF.
[0096] The quantity of terpene present in the micelle-forming compositions can range from about 1 weight percent to about 5 weight percent. In other embodiments, the quantity of terpene in the composition can be about 1 weight percent, about 2 weight percent, about 3 weight percent, about 4 weight percent, or about 5 weight percent. In other embodiments, the quantity of terpene present in the micelle-forming composition can be about 3.5 weight percent, about 3.6 weight percent, about 3.7 weight percent, about 3.8 weight percent, about 3.9 weight percent, about 4 weight percent, about 4.1 weight percent, about 4.2 weight percent, about 4.3 weight percent, about 4.4 weight percent, or about 4.5 weight percent. In particular embodiments, the quantity of terpene present in the micelle-forming compositions can be about 4.2 weight percent.
[0097] Because of the manner in which they are prepared, medium chain oils often contain some amount of material that is greater in length than C14. That said, this fraction is typically small and does not affect the overall performance of a given medium chain oil. As such, and in certain embodiments, the amount of material greater than C14 in a given medium chain oil comprises less than 20 weight percent, less than 15 weight percent, less than 5 weight percent, less than 2.5 weight percent, less than 1 weight percent, less than 0.5 weight percent, or less than 0.1 weight percent of a given medium chain oil.
[0098] Similarly, monoglycerides and diglycerides often contain di- and triglyceride components in the case of a monoglyceride or mono- and triglycerides in the case of diglycerides. The quantity of these components in a given mono- or diglyceride can vary, but is typically less than 20 weight percent, less than 15 weight percent, less than 5 weight percent, less than 2.5 weight percent, less than 1 weight percent, less than 0.5 weight percent, or less than 0.1 weight percent of the mono- or diglyceride. In all cases, the average ECN will be in the range of 12-28 for diglycerides and 6-14 for monoglycerides.
[0099] In addition to the components noted above, in certain embodiments, the pharmaceutical composition can optionally further include a polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil. In particular embodiments, the polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil can be referred to as a “PEG (or polyoxyl) X Hydrogenated Castor Oil,” wherein X refers to the amount of pegylation. In particular embodiments, X can be a number from 1 to 100 and in certain embodiments, can be 7, 40, 40-45, or 60. Exemplary commercially available PEG/polyoxyl X hydrogenated castor oils include CREMOPHOR EL, CREMOPHOR RH40 (available commercially from BASF as polyoxyl 40 hydrogenated castor oil (also known as KOLLIPHOR RH 40)), ETOCAS 40, CRODURET 7, CRODURET 40, CRODURET 50, CRODURET 60, and KOLLIPHOR HS 15. In particular embodiments, the polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil can be polyoxyl 40 hydrogenated castor oil (KOLLIPHOR RH 40).
[0100] When present, the polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil can comprise from about 1 to about 10 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition. In particular embodiments, the polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil can comprise from about 2 to about 9 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, from about 3 to about 7 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, from about 4 to about 6 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, or about 4 to about 5 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition. In particular embodiments, the polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil can comprise about 4 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, about 4.1 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, about 4.2 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, about 4.3 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, about 4.4 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, about 4.5 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, about 4.6 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, about 4.7 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, about 4.8 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition, or about 4.9 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition.
[0101] In other embodiments, the pharmaceutical composition can optionally include a d-α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol succinate (TPGS) derivative having the formula:
[0102]  [see pdf for image]
wherein n can range from 1 to about 100, and in particular embodiments, from about 1 to about 50 or about 1 to about 25. In particular embodiments, the D-α-Tocopherol polyethylene glycol succinate derivative can be d-α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate, also referred to as TPGS-1000 (n≈22).
[0103] The d-α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol succinate derivative, when present, can comprise from about 0.1 weight percent to about 5 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition and in particular embodiments about 1 weight percent, about 1.5 weight percent, about 1.75 weight percent, about 2 weight percent, about 2.1 weight percent, about 2.2 weight percent, about 2.3 weight percent, about 2.4 weight percent, about 2.5 weight percent, about 2.75 weight percent, about 3 weight percent, about 3.25 weight percent, about 3.5 weight percent, about 3.75 weight percent, about 4 weight percent, about 4.25 weight percent, about 4.5 weight percent, or about 4.75 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition. In certain embodiments, the d-α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol succinate derivative can comprise about 2.3 weight percent of the pharmaceutical composition. In other embodiments, the pharmaceutical composition can comprise TPGS-1000 at about 2.3 weight percent.
[0104] Generally speaking, and in certain embodiments, when the pharmaceutical composition includes a d-α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol succinate derivative, the pharmaceutical composition does not include a polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil. Similarly, and in certain embodiments, when the pharmaceutical composition includes a polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil, the pharmaceutical composition does not include a d-α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol succinate derivative.
[0105] Micelle formation for micelle-forming compositions can be observed by adding these compositions to water or other aqueous-based fluid such as simulated gastric fluid (SGF). The size or size distribution of the micelles resulting from mixing the pharmaceutical compositions with water or SGF can be measured using photon correlation spectroscopy. In certain embodiments, the particles can have a size distribution ranging from about 1 nm to about 1400 nm in water, or from about 130 nm to about 465 nm in water, or from about 100 nm to about 210 nm in water.
[0106] In certain embodiments, the micelles can have a zeta potential (mV) ranging from about −10 to about −30 mV. In certain embodiments, the zeta potential of the micelles can be about −10 mV, about −11 mV, about −12 mV, about −13 mV, about −14 mV, about −15 mV, about −16 mV, about −17 mV, about −18 mV, about −19 mV, about −20 mV, about −21 mV, about −22 mV, about −23 mV, about −24 mV, about −25 mV, about −26 mV, about −27 mV, about −28 mV, about −29 mV, or about −30 mV. In certain embodiments, the zeta potential can be about −16 to about −17 mV. In other embodiments, the zeta potential can be about −18 to about −19 mV. In still other embodiments, the zeta potential can be about −20 to about −21 mV.
[0107] As stated earlier, this disclosure encompasses methods of treating any condition or disease associated with an absolute or relative deficiency of a steroid hormone. The methods comprise administering at least one composition disclosed herein to the subject in need thereof. For example, a composition comprising progesterone as the steroid hormone can be administered to a subject in order to treat ovulatory bleeding, infertility associated with low progesterone, or early pregnancy complications associated with low progesterone.
[0108] In certain embodiments, this disclosure provides compositions comprising at least one steroid hormone and at least one terpene and, optionally, at least one pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, for example, one suitable for oral administration. Such compositions can be administered, in a therapeutically effective amount, to a patient in need thereof for the treatment of a disorder associated with a steroid hormone deficiency. This disclosure also encompasses kits comprising at least one composition disclosed herein, for example, a composition comprising at least one steroid hormone, at least one terpene and, optionally, at least one pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, for example one suitable for oral administration. The kits can comprise multiple dosage units or instruction material for using the compositions. The multiple dosage units can be contained within a container such as a bottle or blister pack.
[0109] The agents and compositions of this disclosure can be administered by any suitable route. In certain embodiments, the composition can be administered orally. In general, the optional pharmaceutically acceptable carrier can be selected to be appropriate for the desired route of administration of the pharmaceutical composition. Suitable pharmaceutically acceptable carriers for various routes of administration are known in the art. Except insofar as any of these pharmaceutically acceptable carriers are incompatible with the compositions disclosed herein, use of a given carrier in the pharmaceutical compositions disclosed herein is contemplated. Examples of pharmaceutically acceptable carriers include, without limitation, diluents, preservatives, solubilizers, emulsifiers, adjuvants or excipients.
[0110] In certain embodiments, the compositions disclosed herein can also include a pharmaceutically acceptable pH buffering agent; an additive such as a detergent; a solubilizing agent such as polysorbate 80; a preservative such as benzyl alcohol or other known preservatives; or a bulking substance such as lactose or mannitol. The pharmaceutical composition of this disclosure can be prepared, for example, in liquid form.
[0111] In certain embodiments, the composition can further include an antioxidant such as α-tocopherol acetate, acetone sodium bisulfite, acetylcysteine, ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), cysteine, cysteine hydrochloride, α-tocopherol, dithiothreitol, monothioglycerol, nordihydroguaiaretic acid, propyl gallate, sodium bisulfite, sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate, sodium metabisulfite, sodium sulfite, sodium thiosulfate, thiourea, tocopherol, or any combination thereof.
[0112] Without wishing to be bound by any particular theory, it is believed that antioxidants can be useful in the compositions of this disclosure because terpenes can be easily oxidized, thereby potentially reducing the solubility of the steroid hormone in the composition, increasing irritation due to the presence of the oxidation products, or some combination thereof. In certain embodiments, for example, d-limonene can be oxidized to as many as five different products upon exposure to oxygen in the absence of an antioxidant. The d-limonene oxidation products (R)-(−)-carvone and the cis and trans isomers of (+)-limonene oxide are known potent sensitizers.
[0113] Thus, in certain embodiments, the antioxidant can be present in the composition up to about 5 weight percent, and in certain embodiments, up to about 4 weight percent, up to about 3 weight percent, up to about 2 weight percent, up to about 1 weight percent, up to about 0.5 weight percent, up to about 0.25 weight percent, up to about 0.125 weight percent, or about 0.1 weight percent. In certain embodiments, the antioxidant can be present from about 0.05 weight percent to about 0.15 weight percent. In still other embodiments, the antioxidant can be present at 0.1 weight percent. In certain embodiments, the antioxidant is BHT. And in still further embodiments, the BHT is present in the composition at from about 0.05 to about 0.15 weight percent. In other embodiments, the BHT is present at about 0.1 weight percent.
[0114] The agents and compositions of this disclosure can be administered by any suitable route. In certain embodiments, the composition can be administered via injection (either intramuscular or intraveneous), orally, sublingually, rectally, intravaginally, or topically and can be in the form of a liquid, a cream, a lotion, a gel, an ointment, a foam, syrup, elixir, or any other non-solid dosage form in which the steroid hormone is completely or substantially dissolved and which is appropriate for the given route of administration. Thus, and by way of example only, a liquid formulation could be given via injection, orally, sublingually, topically, rectally, or intravaginally, while it is contemplated that, in certain embodiments, foams, creams, lotions, gels, and ointments can be administered topically or intravaginally.
[0115] In certain embodiments, the compositions of this disclosure can be administered orally, sublingually, topically, rectally, intravaginally, or any combination thereof, in the complete or substantial absence of further additives. That is, and by way of example only, a composition comprising the steroid hormone and the terpene in the presence of less than 5 weight percent, and in certain embodiments, less than 2.5 weight percent, or less than 1 weight percent of other components (including, but not limited to, preservatives, antioxidants, etc.) based on the total weight of the composition, can be directly administered to a patient in need thereof. In such embodiment, the composition can be given as a solution to swallow or applied sublingually. In other embodiments, the composition can be applied directly to the skin or be administered via patch or other appropriate delivery device in order to permit transdermal or intradermal absorption of the steroid hormone. Suitable transdermal patches for delivery of liquid formulations are known to those of ordinary skill in the art. See, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,591,767 and PCT International Application WO 2013/072763, each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. In other embodiments, the liquid can be introduced into the vagina or rectum via an appropriate delivery device (for example, a syringe) to allow for the direct transmucosal absorption of the steroid hormone from the colon, vaginal walls, or cervix.
[0116] Alternatively, the composition can be encapsulated and administered orally, sublingually, vaginally, rectally, or any combination thereof. In certain embodiments, the composition can be encapsulated in a gelatin capsule, or other similar encapsulated dosage form known to those of skill in the art. The gelatin capsule can be a soft gelatin capsule or a hard gelatin capsule. The hard gelatin capsule can be a two-piece, standard gelatin capsule which typically includes a first capsule half and a second capsule half. The soft gelatin capsule can be a two-piece capsule wherein two portions are sealed together or a one-piece, hermetically sealed capsule.
[0117] In certain embodiments, the soft gelatin capsule can be a one-piece, hermetically sealed gelatin based capsule which can be made by techniques known to those skilled in the art. In certain embodiments, the gelatin used to form the soft gelatin capsule can include water, gelatin, and a plasticizer to control the softness and flexibility of the capsule. Other additives for use in the gelatin suitable for preparing the soft gelatin capsule, include but are not limited to, flavorants, colorants, and opacifiers.
[0118] Soft gelatin capsules can be produced in a known manner, including with a rotary die process in which a molten mass of a gelatin containing the appropriate or necessary additives, is fed from a reservoir onto drums to form two spaced sheets or ribbons of gelatin in a semi-molten state. These ribbons are fed around rollers and brought together at convergent angle into the nip of a pair of roller dies that include opposed die cavities. A liquid fill formulation, such as the compositions of this disclosure, can then be fed into the wedge-shaped joinder of the ribbons. The gelatin ribbons are continuously conveyed between the dies, with portions of the fill formulation being trapped between the sheets inside the die cavities. The sheets are then pressed together, and severed around each die so that opposed edges of the sheet flow together to form a continuous gelatin sheath around the entrapped liquid composition. The part of the gelatin sheet that is severed from the segments forming the capsules can then be collected for recycling or can be discarded. The resulting soft capsules can then be dried and packaged.
[0119] Various gelatin formulations known in the prior art can be used to encapsulate the compositions of this disclosure. For example, suitable gelatin capsules can be prepared from a gelatin mixture comprising from about 30% w/w to about 85% w/w gelatin and in certain embodiments, about 30% w/w to about 50% w/w; about 15% w/w to about 40% w/w of one or more plasticizer; and from 25% w/w to about 50% w/w of water. In certain embodiments, the gelatin will have a bloom in the rage of about 150 to about 275, and can be Type A or B gelatins or a mixture thereof. In certain embodiments, the gelatin used can comprise hydrolyzed gelatin to prevent cross-linking. The amount of hydrolyzed gelatin can range from about 0.1% w/w of the gelatin in the capsule to 100% w/w of the gelatin in the capsule, including all intervening amounts and ranges. Gelatin suitable for encapsulating the compositions of this disclosure can be derived from any source, including cows, pigs, fish, and vegetables.
[0120] Examples of suitable Type A gelatin include without limitation acid bone gelatin. Examples of suitable Type B gelatin include without limitation lime bone gelatin.
[0121] Suitable gelatin plasticizers are well known to those of ordinary skill in the art and include, but are not limited to, polyhydric alcohols such as sorbitol, glycerin, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, and sorbitan; dialkylphthalates; lower alkyl citrates wherein the lower alkyl has 1-6 carbon atoms; glycols and polyglycols including polyethylene glycols with a molecular weight range of about 200 to about 2,000, methoxyl-propylene-glycol, and 1,2-propylene glycol; esters of polyhydroxy-alcohols such as mono-, di-, and tri-acetate of glycerol; ricinoleic acid and esters thereof; and mixtures of the above. The gelatin formulation can also contain other ingredients including, but not limited to, taste modifiers, coloring agents, and moisture retaining agents.
[0122] Pharmaceutical compositions containing a compound disclosed herein as the active ingredient in intimate admixture with an optional pharmaceutical carrier can be prepared according to conventional pharmaceutical compounding techniques. The carrier can take a wide variety of forms depending on the form of preparation desired for administration for example, parenterally or subcutaneous. Compositions for oral administration can comprise thickeners, flavorings, diluents, emulsifiers, dispersing aids, or binders.
[0123] The pharmaceutical compositions described herein can be formulated in dosage unit form for ease of administration and dose uniformity. A dosage unit, as used herein, refers to a physically discrete unit of the pharmaceutical composition appropriate for the patient undergoing treatment. Each dosage can contain a quantity of active ingredient calculated to produce the desired effect in association with an optional pharmaceutical carrier. Dosage units can be proportionately increased or decreased based on the weight of the patient. Appropriate concentrations for alleviation of a particular pathological condition can be determined by dosage concentration curve calculations. Appropriate dosage unit can also be determined by assessing the efficacy of the treatment.
[0124] The appropriate dosage unit for the administration of the compositions disclosed herein can be determined by evaluating the toxicity or efficacy of the compositions in in vitro models or animal models. Toxicity and efficacy of the particular compositions described herein can be determined by standard pharmaceutical procedures. The data obtained from these studies can be used in formulating a range of dosage for use in human. Dosage amount and interval can be adjusted individually to levels of the active ingredient which are sufficient to deliver an effective amount. Appropriate dosage unit can also be determined by assessing the efficacy of the agent in combination with or in reference to other standard drugs. The dosage units of the compositions can be determined individually or in combination with each treatment according to the effect desired or detected.
[0125] The pharmaceutical compositions provided by this disclosure can be administered at appropriate intervals, for example, once or multiple times per day (e.g., once a day, twice a day, three times a day, four times a day, etc.); once or multiple times every other day (e.g. once a day every other day, twice a day every other day, three times a day every other day, four times a day every other day, etc.); once or multiple times every three days (e.g. once a day every three days, twice a day every three days, three times a day every three days, four times a day every three days, etc.); at least one, two or three times a week; weekly; or less frequently until the condition being treated is reduced or alleviated. In certain embodiments, the dosage can delivered to provide an initial loading dose and then be reduced to a maintenance level, if necessary or desirable. The amount of steroid hormone to be administered as well as the loading period can be determined by a physician of ordinary skill in the art as well as the condition of the patient and the disease or condition to be treated. Although the compositions described here can be given at any time during the day, in certain embodiments, the composition can be administered in the evening. If administered orally, the composition can be administered with food or in the complete or substantial absence of food. In further embodiments, the composition can be orally administered about 1, about 2, about 3, about 4, or about 5 hours after a last meal.
[0126] In certain embodiments, the steroid hormone can be can be administered in the range of about 0.1 mg to about 1 g; about 1 mg to about 600 mg; or about 10 mg to about 500 mg. In certain embodiments, the steroid hormone is progesterone. In some embodiments, the progesterone can be administered to a subject in need thereof in a composition as described herein in an amount in the range of about 25 mg to about 500 mg, and in certain embodiments, about 30 mg, about 35 mg, about 40 mg, about 45 mg, about 50 mg, about 55 mg, about 55 mg, about 60 mg, about 65 mg, about 70 mg, about 75 mg, about 80 mg, about 85 mg, about 90 mg, about 95 mg, about 100 mg, about 125 mg, about 150 mg, about 175 mg, about 200 mg, about 225 mg, about 250 mg, about 275 mg, about 300 mg, about 325 mg, about 350 mg, about 375 mg, about 400 mg, about 425 mg, about 450 mg, about 475 mg, about 500 mg, or any range encompassing any of the noted values.
[0127] In further embodiments, the compositions of this disclosure can be used to treat any condition susceptible to treatment with a steroid hormone. In certain embodiments, the condition can be amenorrhea. In other embodiments, the condition can be endometrial hyperplasia. Treatment of these conditions can be provided through any of the routes described herein and can be undertaken using the composition in unencapsulated form, encapsulated form, or some combination thereof.

EXAMPLES

Example 1

Microscopic Characterization of Progesterone Compositions

[0128] Creams 1 and 2, described in Table 2, below, were prepared according to standard techniques. The compositions differed only in the presence or absence of d-limonene. The creams were examined using a birefringence microscope to determine the presence or absence of progesterone crystals. Pure progesterone crystals (confirmed via IR) were observed in Cream 2, (FIGS. 3 and 4) but no crystals were observed in Cream 1 (FIGS. 1 and 2).
[0129] 
[00004] [TABLE-US-00004]
  TABLE 2
 
    Cream 1   Cream 2
    %   Qty/   %   Qty/
  Ingredients   w/w   Batch   w/w   Batch
 
  Progesterone   2.5%   25.0 g   2.5%   25.0 g
  Micronized, USP        
  Medium Chain   15.0%    150.0 g    15.0%    150.0 g 
  Triglycerides,        
  NF (Miglyol 812)        
  d-Limonene   5.0%   50.0 g   N/A   N/A
  Diethylene Glycol   3.0%   30.0 g   3.0%   30.0 g
  Mono Ethyl Ether        
  EP/NF(Transcutol P)        
  Propylene Glycol   5.0%   50.0 g   5.0%   50.0 g
  Monolaurate (Type II)        
  EP/NF, (Lauroglycol 90)        
  Mixture of Glycerol   7.0%   70.0 g   7.0%   70.0 g
  monostearate EP/NF and        
  PEG-75 stearate NF/JPE,        
  (Gelot 64)        
  Mixture of Cetyl   3.5%   35.0 g   3.5%   35.0 g
  Alcohol EP/NF        
  and Ethoxylated Fatty        
  Alcohols (Ceteth-20,        
  Steareth-20) EP/NF,        
  (Emulcire 61 WL 2659)        
  Carbopol 980   0.2%    2.0 g   0.2%    2.0 g
  NF Polymer        
  Liquid Soy Lecithin   3.0%   30.0 g   3.0%   30.0 g
  Propylene Glycol, USP   4.0%   40.0 g   4.0%   40.0 g
  Methyl Paraben, NF   0.2%    2.0 g   0.2%    2.0 g
  Propyl Paraben,   0.02%     0.2 g   0.02%     0.2 g
  NF, EP, BP, JP        
  Citric Acid   0.47%    4.70 g   0.53%    5.30 g
  Monohydrate,        
  Granular, USP        
  Dibasic Sodium   0.82%    8.20 g   0.92%    9.20 g
  Phosphate, Dried, USP        
  Purified Water, USP   QS   502.90   QS   551.30
  TOTAL   100%    1000.0 g    100%    1000.0 g 
 
[0130] This data demonstrates that d-limonene can be an effective progesterone solubilizing agent in complex formulations.

Example 2

Combined Progesterone/Estradiol Formulation

[0131] Cream 1 in Table 2 was combined with estradiol in the proportions specified in Table 3, below. TRANSCUTOL P was used to solubilize estradiol.
[0132] 
[00005] [TABLE-US-00005]
  TABLE 3
 
  Ingredients   % w/w   Qty./Batch
 
  Progesterone 2.5% Cream (Cream 1)   99.595   497.975 g 
  Micronized Estradiol Hemihydrate, USP0.005%    0.025 g
Transcutol P (1)    0.4%     2.0 g
  TOTAL   100%   500.00 g
 
[0133] Addition of estradiol and TRANSCUTOL P did not induce progesterone crystallization.

Example 3

Transdermal Delivery of Progesterone Opposes the Effects of Estradiol in Female Rats

[0134] Transdermally delivered progesterone blocked growth-related estrogenic effects on the endometrium and vagina in ovariectomized rats. More specifically, when Cream 1 in Table 2 (including 0.1% w/w butylated hydroxytoluene) was applied topically to a rat model, progesterone successfully penetrated the skin of the rat model to an extent that resulted in clinically-relevant cellular changes on reproductive organs.
[0135] Thirty-two 8-week-old female Crl:CD® rats underwent ovariectomy 2 weeks prior to the start of the study. Rats were then randomly assigned to 4 groups of 8 rats each and dosed according to the schedule in Table 4. Control animals were dosed with saline or vehicle as noted. Two hours after the final dose on Day 8, the rats were humanely euthanized and the rats' vaginas and the distal portions of the rats' uterine horns were fixed and processed for histology and computer-aided morphometry.
[0136] 
[00006] [TABLE-US-00006]
    TABLE 4
   
          Number of
    Treatment   Dose   Dose   Animals
  Group   Treatment   Route   Day   Level   Volume   Day 1   Day 8
 
  1   17-β-   SQ   1-8   0   5   8   8
  (Control)   Estradiol         (mL/kg)
    vehicle
    (Saline)
    Transdermal   Dermal   4-8   0   125 μL/   8   8
    Progesterone         day
    vehicle
  2   17-β-   SQ   1-8   3 μg/kg/   5   8   8
    Estradiol       Day   (mL/kg)
    Transdermal   Dermal   4-8   0   125 μL/   8   8
    Progesterone         day
    vehicle
  3   17-β-   SQ   1-8   3 μg/kg/   5   8   8
    Estradiol       day   (mL/kg)
    Progesterone   SQ   4-8   10 mg/kg/   5   8   8
          day   (mL/kg)
  4   17-β-   SQ   1-8   3 μg/kg/   5   8   8
    Estradiol       day   (mL/kg)
    Transdermal   Dermal   4-8   3.125 mg/   125 μL/   8   8
    Progesterone       day   day
 
[0137] As expected with this model, ovariectomy without hormone replacement resulted in significant atrophy of the uterus while unopposed estradiol treatment lead to hypertrophy as demonstrated by organ weight measurements and histology.
[0138] Significantly reduced uterine weight was observed in both groups receiving progesterone. See, FIGS. 5 and 6. The histological images of the uterus (FIG. 7) were consistent with the changes in uterine weights, and the overall size of the vaginal histology images (FIG. 8) were also consistent with the treatments. In addition, several estrogen-specific cellular aspects seen in the uterus (e.g., columnar luminal epithelium, eosinophilic endometrium) and vagina (e.g., keratinized epithelium, rete pegs) were not detected in group receiving progesterone subcutaneously (“SC”) or transdermally. See, Table 5.
[0139] 
[00007] [TABLE-US-00007]
    TABLE 5
   
    0 μg/kg (SC