The development of new direct compression excipients should include a comprehensive and rapid determination of deformation properties. The aim of this study was to characterize StarLac, a new coprocessed compound for direct compression based on lactose and maize starch. For this purpose, the effects of the base materials (maize starch and spraydried lactose) were considered and the influence of the spray-drying process was investigated. This was performed by comparing the physical mixture of starch and spray-dried lactose at the same ratio as for StarLac. For analysis of the deformation behavior, the 3-D model and the Walker equation were applied; for verification, the Heckel equation and the pressure time function (a modified Weibull equation) were used. The advantages of StarLac are its good flowability depending on the spray-drying process, an acceptable crushing force due to its lactose content, its rapid disintegration depending on starch, and a brilliant fast release of an active ingredient, such as theophylline monohydrate. The volume-pressure deformation properties of StarLac were dependent on the lactose properties. Only at high maximum relative density (rel,max) did the influence of starch cause a change in these properties. A network-like structure can be observed using scanning electron microscopy pictures. Overall, StarLac deformed plastically with a low portion of elasticity. The physical mixture exhibited a more elastic behavior than StarLac. However, the part of the powder that was irreversibly compressed was much lower than was observed for the single substances. This behavior is caused by an interaction between the components, which in StarLac is prevented by spray drying.
Key words: compression, tableting behavior, lactose starch, drug release