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AAPS PharmSciTech. 2002 February; 3(4): 17.
Published online 2002 September 20. doi:  10.1208/pt030429
PMCID: PMC2751337

Crystal doping aided by rapid expansion of supercritical solutions


The purpose of this study was to test the utility of rapid expansion of supercritical solution (RESS) based cocrystallizations in inducing polymorph conversion and crystal disruption of chlorpropamide (CPD). CPD crystals were recrystallized by the RESS process utilizing supercritical carbon dioxide as the solvent. The supercritical region investigated for solute extraction ranged from 45 to 100°C and 2000 to 8000 psi. While pure solute recrystallization formed stage I of these studies, stage II involved recrystallization of CPD in the presence of urea (model impurity). The composition, morphology, and crystallinity of the particles thus produced were characterized utilizing techniques such as microscopy, thermal analysis, x-ray powder diffractometry, and high-performance liquid chromatography. Also, comparative evaluation between RESS and evaporative crystallization from liquid solvents was performed. RESS recrystallizations of commercially available CPD (form A) resulted in polymorph conversion to metastable forms C and V, depending on the temperature and pressure of the recrystallizing solvent. Cocrystallization studies revealed the formation of eutectic mixtures and solid solutions of CPD+urea. Formation of the solid solutions resulted in the crystal disruption of CPD and subsequent amorphous conversion at urea levels higher than 40% wt/wt. Consistent with these results were the reductions in melting point (up to 9°C) and in the ΔHfvalues of CPD (up to 50%). Scanning electron microscopy revealed a particle size reduction of up to an order of magnitude upon RESS processing. Unlike RESS, recrystallizations from liquid organic solvents lacked the ability to affect polymorphic conversions. Also, the incorporation of urea into the lattice of CPD was found to be inadequate. In providing the ability to control both the particle and crystal morphologies of active pharmaceutical ingredients, RESS proved potentially advantageous to crystal engineering. Rapid crystallization kinetics were found vital in making RESS-based doping superior to conventional solvent-based cocrystallizations.

Keywords: Rapid expansion of supercritical solutions, RESS, crystal doping, cocrystallization, chlorpropamide, urea

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Selected References

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