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 KimEmail author



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.


Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether Solubilizer Solubility Cosolvent Transcutol 



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).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human and animal subjects performed by the authors.


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Copyright information

© The Korean Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eun-Sol Ha
    • 1
  • Seon-Kwang Lee
    • 1
  • Du Hyung Choi
    • 2
  • Seong Hoon Jeong
    • 3
  • Sung-Joo Hwang
    • 4
  • Min-Soo Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of PharmacyPusan National UniversityBusanRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical EngineeringInje UniversityGyeongnamRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.College of PharmacyDongguk University-SeoulGyeonggiRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.College of Pharmacy and Yonsei Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Yonsei UniversityIncheonRepublic of Korea

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