The aim of this study was to evaluate the suitability of saturated phosphatidylcholine (Phospholipon® 90H) as extended release excipient in matrix tablets for three model drugs with different aqueous solubility (theophylline, caffeine and diprophylline). The tablets could be prepared by direct compression because of the favorable phospholipid powder flow properties (Carr's index: 12.64 and angle of repose: 28.85) and good compactibility. Tablets of low porosity were formed already at low pressure of 40 MPa and with drug loadings up to 70% due to high plasticity of the phospholipid. Extended drug release was achieved with the drugs of different solubility and at various drug loadings. For example, the caffeine release time (t80%) from 8 mm tablets ranged from 1.5 h to 18 h at 70% and 10% drug loading, respectively. The drug release was governed by diffusion and could therefore be modelled by Fick's law of diffusion. Drug release profiles were thus a function of drug solubility, drug loading and tablet dimension. Matrix tablets of caffeine (20% drug loading) showed robust dissolution with regard to agitation (50–100 rpm) and ionic strength of the release media (100–600 mOsmol/kg). Caffeine release was pH-dependent with a faster drug release at acidic pH, which was attributed to a protonization of the phosphatidyl group of the matrix-former and thus a higher hydrophilicity.