The purpose of this study was to assess the potential use of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) as matrix-forming mate-rial for tablets and extrudates. Raw materials were characterized for size, size distribution, and shape. Tablets with 2- and 10-mm diameter were prepared by direct compression at both 13 and 38 MPa from mixtures with poly(ethylene oxide)s, a model drug (propranolol hydrochloride) and lactose. To these mixtures water was added (16%–43%) prior to extrusion in a ram extruder fit with different dies (1-, 3-, 6-, and 9-mm diameter and 4-mm length). Tablets and extrudates were characterized for work of compression or extrusion, respectively, relaxation, tensile strength, friability, and drug release. Both PEOs produced tablets easily and with different properties. Some relaxation was observed, particularly for tablets with higher amounts of PEOs. Release of the drug occurred after swelling of the matrix, and between 10% and 70% drug released, a quasi zero-order release was observed for large tablets. Extrusion was possible for formulations with PEO only with amounts of water between 16% and 50%. Both radial and axial relaxation of both plugs and extrudates were observed. Moreover, different extrusion profiles reflected the different behaviors of the different formulations. The model drug was released in the same fashion as observed for the tablets. It was possible to produce tablets by direct compression and extrudates or pellets from those extrudates from different formulations with PEO. Tablets and pellets have shown distinct properties depending upon the PEO considered. Extrusion was particularly complex with different formulations with PEO.
Key words: extrusion, minitablet, pellet, poly(ethylene oxide), tablet