The study objective was to investigate the influence of the degree of polymerization (DP) of cellulose materials (microcrystalline cellulose [MCC] and powder cellulose [PC]) on the behavior of these materials during homogenization and extrusion/spheronization processes. Suspensions of the cellulose types with different DP values were homogenized using a high-pressure homogenizer. The particle size, agglomeration index, and apparent viscosity of these suspensions was determined at different times after pouring. Additionally, these different cellulose types were processed into pellets using the extrusion/spheronization, method, and the water content and power consumption as a function of the DP were determined. Cellulose types with a high DP value showed greater particle size after homogenization, than the types with a low DP value. In contrast, no relevant relationship between the apparent viscosity and DP could be observed. During the extrusion process, water content in the extrudate and pellet porosity were increased as the DP was increased for the extrudates produced at the same level of power consumption. MCC types with various DPs compared with PC provided a novel way of understanding the role of cellulose in the extrusion process. The DP showed a remarkable influence on the physicochemical properties of the cellulose materials and, consequently, on the behavior of these materials during the extrusion/spheronization process. It is postulated that the sponge model is more appropriate for the cellulose type with high DP (PC), whereas the gel model is more applicable to cellulose types with lower DP (MCC).
The purpose of this research was to study the influence of type of chitosan with different molecular weights, ie, 190 and 419 kDa, on properties of pellets prepared by extrusion/ spheronization. The formulations, consisting of acetaminophen as model drug, chitosan, microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), and dibasic calcium phosphate dihydrate with/without sodium alginate, were extruded using a twin-screw extruder and water as the granulating liquid. With 30% wt/wt MCC and no added sodium alginate, spherical pellets were produced containing low and high molecular weight chitosan at a maximum amount of 60% and 40% wt/wt, respectively. With sodium alginate (2.5% wt/wt), pellets with either type of chitosan (60% wt/wt), MCC (17.5% wt/wt), and acetaminophen (20% wt/wt) could be produced indicating an improved pelletforming ability. Type and amount of chitosan and added sodium alginate affected physical properties of pellets including size, roundness, crushing force, and drug release. Low molecular weight chitosan produced pellets with higher mean diameter, sphericity, and crushing force. Additionally, the pellets made of low molecular weight chitosan and added sodium alginate showed faster drug release in 0.1 N HCl but had slower drug release in pH 7.4 phosphate buffer. This indicated that drug release from pellets could be modified by the molecular weight of chitosan. In conclusion, the molecular weight of chitosan had a major influence on formation, physical properties, and drug release from the obtained pellets.
Chitosan; sodium alginate; pellets; extrusion/spheronization; drug release
This study investigated the possibility of producing pectin-based pellets by extrusion/spheronization. The study also identified factors influencing the process and the characteristics of the resulting product. Three types of pectin with different degrees of amid and methoxyl substitution were studied in combination with different granulation liquids (water, calcium chloride, citric acid, and ethanol) and/or microcrystalline cellulose. Pellets were prepared in a power-consumption-controlled, twinscrew extruder; then they were spheronized and dried. The products were characterized by image analysis, sieving analysis, and disintegration and dissolution tests. The results were evaluated by multivariate analysis. Different additives, either in the granulation liquid or in the powder mixture, influenced the ability of the extruded mass to form pellets (the processability) with this technique. However, the various pectin types responded to modifications to a different extent. Short, nearly spherical pellets are obtained with granulation liquids, such as ethanol, that reduce the swelling ability of pectin. Pellets produced with ethanol are, however, mechanically weak and tend to ditintegrate. Pectin molecules with a high degree of free carboxylic acid groups seem to be more sensitive to changes in the granulation liquid. Addition of microcrystalline cellulose as an extrusion aid generally resulted in improvements in shape and size. It was demonstrated that the processability of pectin as well as the characteristics of the products can be influenced in different ways during the process (eg, adding substances to the granulation liquid or to the powder mixture).
Pectin; Pellets; Extrusion; Spheronization; Multivariate analysis
Furosemide is a class IV biopharmaceutical classification system drug having poor water solubility and low bioavailability due to the hepatic first-pass metabolism and has a short half-life of 2 h. To overcome the above drawback, this study was carried to prepare and evaluate the pellets containing furosemide solid dispersion (SD) for oral administration prepared by extrusion/spheronization. SD of furosemide was prepared with Eudragit L-100 at a drug-to-polymer ratio of 1:2 by employing a solvent evaporation method and characterized. Further, microcrystalline cellulose pellets containing SD were consequently prepared using a lab scale extrusion/ spheronizer and evaluated for in vitro drug release studies. The influence of process parameters used during extrusion/spheronization on the pellet properties was also studied using 2-factor, 3-level central composite design in order to improve the product quality. Additionally, the desirability function approach was applied to acquire the preeminent compromise between the multiple responses. Pellets containing solid dispersion (PSD) were prepared using optimal parameter settings demonstrated 88.52 ± 0.69% of the drug was released in a sustained release manner till 12 h. In vitro drug release data were fitted to various release kinetics models to study the mechanism of drug release. Drug release from the PSD was found to follow zero-order and Higuchi's model. Both studied parameters had great influence on the responses. PSD showed augmentation in the drug release profile till 12 h. The final optimized formulation was obtained by encapsulating best SD formulation within the pellet core to release the drug in the most soluble form in stomach and a sustained fashion in intestine.
Central composite design; desirability function; furosemide; solid dispersion; sustained release pellets
Background and the purpose of the study
Olanzapine is an antipsychotic used in treatment of schizophrenia. This research was carried out to design oral controlled release matrix pellets of water insoluble drug Olanzapine (OZ), using blend of Sodium Alginate (SA) and Glyceryl Palmito-Stearate (GPS) as matrix polymers, micro crystalline cellulose (MCC) as spheronizer enhancer and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) as pore forming agent.
OZ formulations were developed by the pelletization technique by drug loaded pellets and characterized with regard to the drug content, size distribution, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray Diffraction study (XRD). Stability studies were carried out on the optimized formulation for a period of 90 days at 40±2 °C and 75±5% relative humidity.
Results and major conclusion
The drug content was in the range of 93.34–98.12%. The mean particle size of the drug loaded pellets was in the range 1024 to 1087µm. SEM photographs and calculated sphericity factor confirmed that the prepared formulations were spherical in nature. The compatibility between drug and polymers in the drug loaded pellets was confirmed by DSC and FTIR studies. Stability studies indicated that pellets are stable. XRD patterns revealed the crystalline nature of the pure OZ. Loose surface crystal study indicated that crystalline OZ is present in all formulations and more clear in formulation F5. Drug release was controlled for more than 24 hrs and mechanism of the drug release followed by Fickian diffusion. It may be concluded that F5 is an ideal formulation for once a day administration.
Pelletization; Microporous membrane; Release kinetics; SEM
Self-emulsifying oil/surfactant mixtures can be incorporated into pellets that have the advantages of the oral administration of both microemulsions and a multiple-unit dosage form. The purpose of this work was to study the effects of surfactant hydrophilic–lipophilic balance (HLB) and oil/surfactant ratio on the formation and properties of self-emulsifying microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) pellets and microemulsion reconstitution. Triglycerides (C8–C10) was the oil and Cremophor ELP and RH grades and Solutol the surfactants. Pellets were prepared by extrusion/spheronization using microemulsions with fixed oil/surfactant content but with different water proportions to optimize size and shape parameters. Microemulsion reconstitution from pellets suspended in water was evaluated by turbidimetry and light scattering size analysis, and H-bonding interactions of surfactant with MCC from FT-IR spectra. It was found that water requirements for pelletization increased linearly with increasing HLB. Crushing load decreased and deformability increased with increasing oil/surfactant ratio. Incorporation of higher HLB surfactants enhanced H-bonding and resulted in faster and more extensive disintegration of MCC as fibrils. Reconstitution was greater at high oil/surfactant ratios and the droplet size of the reconstituted microemulsions was similar to that in the wetting microemulsions. The less hydrophilic ELP with a double bond in the fatty acid showed weaker H-bonding and greater microemulsion reconstitution. Purified ELP gave greater reconstitution than the unpurified grade. Thus, the work demonstrates that the choice of type and quantity of the surfactant used in the formulation of microemulsions containing pellets has an important influence on their production and performance.
disintegration and mechanical properties; FT-IR and H-bonding; microemulsion reconstitution; self-emulsifying pellets; surfactant HLB and oil/surfactant ratio
The aim of this study was to investigate the phase transitions occurring in nitrofurantoin and theophylline formulations during pelletization by extrusion-spheronization. An at-line process analytical technology (PAT) approach was used to increase the understanding of the solid-state behavior of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) during pelletization. Raman spectroscopy, near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, and X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) were used in the characterization of polymorphic changes during the process. Samples were collected at the end of each processing stage (blending, granulation, extrusion, spheronization, and drying). Batches were dried at 3 temperature levels (60°C, 100°C, and 135°C). Water induced a hydrate formation in both model formulations during processing. NIR spectroscopy gave valuable real-time data about the state of water in the system, but it was not able to detect the hydrate formation in the theophylline and nitrofurantoin formulations during the granulation, extrusion, and spheronization stages because of the saturation of the water signal. Raman and XRPD measurement results confirmed the expected pseudopolymorphic changes of the APIs in the wet process stages. The relatively low level of Raman signal with the theophylline formulation complicated the interpretation. The drying temperature had a significant effect on dehydration. For a channel hydrate (theophylline), dehydration occurred at lower drying temperatures. In the case of isolated site hydrate (nitrofurantoin), dehydration was observed at higher temperatures. To reach an understanding of the process and to find the critical process parameters, the use of complementary analytical techniques are absolutely necessary when signals from APIs and different excipients overlap each other.
PAT; pelletization; theophylline; nitrofurantoin; NIR; Raman; XRPD
It has recently been highlighted that the release behavior of pellets containing microcystalline cellulose (MCC) as the spheronizing agent may be impaired by the lack of disintegration. Although alternative spheronizing excipients have been proposed, their overall advantages have not thoroughly been assessed. In the present work, the possible use of β-cyclodextrin (βCD) was therefore explored for the manufacturing of pellets with a potential for effective disintegration and immediate release of poorly soluble active ingredients. MCC/βCD powder formulations containing no drug or model drugs with different water solubility, able to form inclusion compounds with the employed cyclodextrin, were pelletized by agglomeration in rotary fluid bed equipment. By applying successive statistical experimental designs, the most critical formulation and operating parameters were identified and optimal manufacturing processes were ultimately set up. High yields of pellets provided with satisfactory physical-technological characteristics were obtained using powder formulations with up to 80% βCD. Based on dissolution testing results, the suitability of βCD for the preparation of disintegrating MCC-containing pellets with improved dissolution performance was finally demonstrated.
β-cyclodextrin; design of experiments; microcrystalline cellulose; pellets; rotary fluid bed
The objectives of this study were to develop and evaluate a novel self-emulsifying floating drug delivery system (SEFDDS) that resulted in improved solubility, dissolution, and controlled release of the poorly water-soluble tetrahydrocurcumin (THC). The formulations of liquid self-emulsifying drug delivery system (SEDDS; mixtures of Labrasol, Cremophor EL, Capryol 90, Labrafac PG) were optimized by solubility assay and pseudo-ternary phase diagram analysis. The liquid SEDDS was mixed with adsorbent (silicon dioxide), glyceryl behenate, pregelatinized starch, sodium starch glycolate, and microcrystalline cellulose and transformed into pellets by the extrusion/spheronization technique. The resulting pellets with 22% liquid SEDDS had a uniform size and good self-emulsification property. The microemulsions in aqueous media of different self-emulsifying floating pellet formulations were in a particle size range of 25.9–32.5 nm. Use of different weight proportions of glyceryl behenate and sodium starch glycolate in pellet formulations had different effects on the floating abilities and in vitro drug release. The optimum formulation (F2) had a floating efficiency of 93% at 6 h and provided a controlled release of THC over an 8-h period. The release rate and extent of release of THC liquid SEDDS (80% within 2 h) and self-emulsifying floating pellet formulation (80% within 8 h) were significantly higher than that of unformulated THC (only 30% within 8 h). The pellet formulation was stable under intermediate and accelerated storage conditions for up to 6 months. Controlled release from this novel SEFDDS can be a useful alternative for the strategic development of oral solid lipid-based formulations.
controlled release; floating drug delivery systems; SEDDS; self-emulsifying systems; tetrahydrocurcumin
Background and methods:
The aim of this study was to develop an immediate-release pellet formulation with improved drug dissolution and adsorption. Carbamazepine, a poorly water-soluble drug, was adsorbed into mesoporous silica (SBA-15-CBZ) via a wetness impregnation method and then processed by extrusion/spheronization into pellets. Physicochemical characterization of the preparation was carried out by scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, nitrogen adsorption, small-angle and wide-angle x-ray diffraction, and differential scanning calorimetry. Flowability and wettability of the drug-loaded silica powder were evaluated by bulk and tapped density and by the angle of repose and contact angle, respectively. The drug-loaded silica powder was formulated into pellets to improve flowability.
With maximum drug loading in SBA-15 matrices determined to be 20% wt, in vitro release studies demonstrated that the carbamazepine dissolution rate was notably improved from both the SBA-15 powder and the corresponding pellets as compared with the bulk drug. Correspondingly, the oral bioavailability of SBA-15-CBZ pellets was increased considerably by 1.57-fold in dogs (P < 0.05) compared with fast-release commercial carbamazepine tablets.
Immediate-release carbamazepine pellets prepared from drug-loaded silica provide a feasible approach for development of a rapidly acting oral formulation for this poorly water-soluble drug and with better absorption.
ordered mesoporous silica; poorly water-soluble drug; carbamazepine; extrusion; spheronization; pellets; bioavailability
Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) is well established as an extrusion spheronisation aid for the preparation of pellets. Crospovidone (Polyplasdone® XL-10) is compared with microcrystalline cellulose for the preparation of melt-in-mouth pellets. Taste-masked fexofenadine hydrochloride was incorporated in the melt-in-mouth formulation. Crospovidone was found to be well suited as extrusion–spheronisation aid for the preparation of melt-in-mouth pellets. The great advantage of crospovidone is, however, the disintegrating properties of the pellets after only a short time of exposure to liquid. Crospovidone was successfully employed as an extrusion–spheronisation aid to produce melt-in-mouth pellets obviating the need of a traditional extrusion–spheronisation aid, MCC. Dual properties of Crospovidone were explored viz. as an extrusion–spheronisation aid and a disintegrant.
Crospovidone (Polyplasdone® XL-10); fexofenadine hydrochloride; ion exchange resin; melt-in-mouth pellets; microcrystalline cellulose; taste masking
The purpose of the present study was to investigate incorporation of hydrophobic (ie, waxy) material into pellets using a thermal sintering technique and to evaluate the pellets in vitro for controlled release. Pellets prepared by extrusion-spheronization technology were formulated with a water-soluble drug, microcrystalline cellulose, and carnauba wax. Powdered carnauba wax (4%–20%) prepared by grinding or by emulsification was studied with an attempt to retard the drug release. The inclusion of ground or emulsified carnauba wax did not sustain the release of theophylline for more than 3 hours. Matrix pellets of theophylline prepared with various concentrations of carnauba wax were sintered thermally at various times and temperatures. In vitro drug release profiles indicated an increase in drug release retardation with increasing carnauba wax concentration. Pellets prepared with ground wax showed a higher standard deviation than did those prepared with emulsified wax. There was incomplete release at the end of 12 hours for pellets prepared with 20% ground or emulsified wax. The sintering temperature and duration were optimized to allow for a sustained release lasting at least 12 hours. The optimized temperature and duration were found to be 100° and 140 seconds, respectively. The sintered pellets had a higher hydrophobicity than did the unsintered pellets. Scanning electron micrographs indicated that the carnauba wax moved internally, thereby increasing the surface area of wax within the pellets.
Controlled release; pellets; thermal sintering; waxes; theophylline
The aim of the present study was to investigate the use of different grades of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and lactose in a direct pelletization process in a rotary processor. For this purpose, a mixed 2- and 3-level factorial study was performed to determine the influence of the particle size of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), (≈60 and 105 μm) and lactose (≈30, 40, and 55 μm), as well as MCC type (Avicel and Emcocel) on the pelletization process and the physical properties of the prepared pellets. A 1∶4 mixture of MCC and lactose was applied, and granulation liquid was added until a 0.45 Nm increase in the torque of the friction plate was reached. All combinations of the 3 factors resulted in spherical pellets of a high physical strength. The particle size of MCC was found to have no marked effect on the amount of water required for agglomerate growth or on the size of the resulting pellets. An increasing particle size of lactose gave rise to more spherical pellets of a more narrow size distribution as well as higher yields. The MCC type was found to affect both the release of the model drug from the prepared pellets and the size distribution. Generally, the determined influence of the investigated factors was small, and direct pelletization in a rotary processor was found to be a robust process, insensitive to variations in the particle size and type of MCC and the particle size of lactose.
rotary processor; direct pelletization; torque measurement; microcrystalline cellulose
Spherical granules (pellets) are quite useful in many pharmaceutical applications. The extrusion spheronisation technique is well established as a method of producing pellets of a spherical shape and narrow size distribution. After the extrusion, the cylindrical extrudates are transformed to spherical pellets by spheronisation. The frequently used models consider deformation and breakage during this process. However, the adhesion of fine particles has been neglected as a mechanism in spheronisation for many years. This study quantifies the mass transfer between pellets during spheronisation. During the investigation, the pelletisation aids (microcrystalline cellulose and kappa-carrageenan), the drug (acetaminophen and ibuprofen) and water content were varied systematically. A novel parameter, namely, the "mass transfer fraction" (MTF), was defined to quantify the mass transfer between the pellets. All four investigated formulations had an MTF between 0.10 and 0.52 that implies that up to 50 % of the final pellet weight was involved in mass transfer. Both pelletisation aids showed similar MTF, independent of the drug used. Furthermore, an increase of the MTF, with respect to an increase of the water content, was found for microcrystalline cellulose formulations. In conclusion, the mass transfer between the pellets has to be considered as a mechanism for spheronisation.
carrageenan; MCC; mechanism; pellets; spheronisation
Pellet manufacturing by extrusion/spheronization is quite common in the pharmaceutical field because the obtained product is characterized by a high sphericity as well as a narrow particle size distribution. The established mechanisms only consider deformation of the initially fractured particles but do not account for mass transfer between the particles as a factor in achieving spherical particles. This study dealt with the visualization of mass transfer during spheronization. Therefore, two common pelletization aids, microcrystalline cellulose and kappa-carrageenan, were used alone as well as in combination with lactose as a filler. This study proves that mass transfer between particles must be considered in addition to plastic deformation in order to capture the spheronization mechanism. Moreover, it is evident that there are regional distinctions in the amount of mass transfer at the particle surface. Therefore, the commonly espoused pelletization mechanisms need to be extended to account for material transfer between pellet particles, which has not been considered before.
agglomeration; carrageenan; MCC; pelletization; spheronization; wet extrusion
Compaction of controlled-release coated pellets into tablets is challenging because of the fusion of pellets and the rupturing of coated film. The difficulty in compaction intensifies with the use of extremely water-soluble drugs. Therefore, the present study was conducted to prepare and compact pellets containing pseudoephedrine hydrochloride as an extremely water-soluble model drug. The pellets were produced using an extrusion–spheronization technique. The drug-loaded pellets were coated to extend the drug release up to 12-h employing various polymers, and then they were compressed into tablets using microcrystalline cellulose Ceolus KG-801 as a novel tabletting excipient. The in vitro drug release studies of coated pellets and tablets were undertaken using the USP basket method in dissolution test apparatus I. The amount of drug released was analyzed at a wavelength of 215 nm. The combined coatings of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and Kollicoat SR-30D yielded 12-h extended-release pellets with drug release independent of pH of dissolution medium following zero-order kinetics. The drug release from the tablets prepared using inert Celous KG-801 granules as tabletting excipient was found faster than that of coated pellets. However, a modification in drug release rate occurred with the incorporation of inert Ceolus KG-801 pellets. The drug dissolution profile from tablets containing 40% w/w each of coated pellets and inert granules along with 20% w/w inert pellets was found to be closely similar to that of coated pellets. Furthermore, the friability, tensile strength, and disintegration time of the tablets were within the USP specifications.
ceolus KG-801; compaction of coated pellets; microcrystalline cellulose; pseudoephedrine hydrochloride; tabletting excipients
In the present study we investigated the effect of changes in the content of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) on a direct pelletization process in a rotary processor in which the liquid addition was terminated once a certain increase in torque was produced. Nine different mixtures of MCC and lactose with MCC contents varying from 10% to 100% (w/w) were pelletized using 6 different torque increase levels, and the changes in pellet characteristics were investigated. The pellet characteristics investigated were pellet shape, size, and size distribution as well as the water content of the pellets at the end of liquid addition. To produce spherical agglomerates with suitable characteristics in a reproducible way, a content of a least 20% (w/w) MCC was found necessary. Linear correlations were found between the MCC content and the water content and between the torque incraase and the water content, showing that the torque increase is suitable to control the process. A higher torque increase or a higher MCC content was found to increase the water content independently of each other.
Furosemide is a powerful diuretic and antihypertensive drug which has low bioavailability due to hepatic first pass metabolism and has a short half-life of 2 hours. To overcome the above drawback, the present study was carried out to formulate and evaluate sustained release (SR) pellets of furosemide for oral administration prepared by extrusion/spheronization. Drug Coat L-100 was used within the pellet core along with microcrystalline cellulose as the diluent and concentration of selected binder was optimized to be 1.2%. The formulation was prepared with drug to polymer ratio 1:3. It was optimized using Design of Experiments by employing a 32 central composite design that was used to systematically optimize the process parameters combined with response surface methodology. Dissolution studies were carried out with USP apparatus Type I (basket type) in both simulated gastric and intestinal pH. The statistical technique, i.e., the two-tailed paired t test and one-way ANOVA of in vitro data has proposed that there was very significant (P≤0.05) difference in dissolution profile of furosemide SR pellets when compared with pure drug and commercial product. Validation of the process optimization study indicated an extremely high degree of prognostic ability. The study effectively undertook the development of optimized process parameters of pelletization of furosemide pellets with tremendous SR characteristics.
Central composite design; extrusion/spheronization; furosemide; statistical analysis; Taguchi orthogonal array design
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential of cellulose nanofibers (also referred as microfibrillated cellulose, nanocellulose, nanofibrillated, or nanofibrillar cellulose) as novel tabletting material. For this purpose, physical and mechanical properties of spray-dried cellulose nanofibers (CNF) were examined, and results were compared to those of two commercial grades of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), Avicel PH101 and Avicel PH102, which are the most commonly and widely used direct compression excipients. Chemically, MCC and CNF are almost identical, but their physical characteristics, like mechanical properties and surface-to-volume ratio, differ remarkably. The novel material was characterized with respect to bulk and tapped as well as true density, moisture content, and flow properties. Tablets made of CNF powder and its mixtures with MCC with or without paracetamol as model compound were produced by direct compression and after wet granulation. The tensile strength of the tablets made in a series of applied pressures was determined, and yield pressure values were calculated from the measurements. With CNF, both wet granulation and direct compression were successful. During tablet compression, CNF particles were less prone to permanent deformation and had less pronounced ductile characteristics. Disintegration and dissolution studies showed slightly faster drug release from direct compression tablets with CNF, while wet granulated systems did not have any significant difference.
cellulose nanofibers; characterization; excipient; microcrystalline cellulose; tabletting
PEGylated conjugate of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) was synthesized by reacting MCC with polyethylene glycol (PEG) 200 in the presence of catalyst at elevated temperature. Conjugation between MCC and PEG was confirmed by FT-IR and 1H NMR studies. The conjugate showed 61% PEG content increase in molecular weight determined by mass spectroscopy. PEGylation did not improve solubility of cellulose significantly. The physico-chemical properties of conjugate were compared against MCC. This conjugate was evaluated for water vapor uptake isotherms, maximum water saturation, water penetration rate, disintegration time, superdisintegration power, and dissolution study. After comparing its results with that of commercial superdisintegrants, it can be concluded that MCC–PEG conjugate can prove to be a good superdisintegrant.
disintegration; MCC–PEG conjugate; PEGylation; superdisintegrant
Pellets intended for oral dosing are frequently produced via extrusion/spheronization followed by drying. Typically, the last active process step, i.e., drying, is assumed to have little effect on the final dosage form properties (e.g., dissolution characteristics). Thus, there exist only a few studies of this subject. In the present study, calcium stearate/ibuprofen pellets were used as model system to investigate the impact of the drying conditions. Lipophilic calcium stearate matrix pellets containing 20% ibuprofen were prepared via wet extrusion/spheronization. Subsequently, desiccation, fluid-bed drying, and lyophilization were applied for granulation liquid removal. The impact of these drying techniques on the final pellet properties was evaluated. The in vitro dissolution behavior was dramatically altered by the drying techniques that were considered. The investigated pellets showed drug release rates that varied as much as 100%. As no polymorphic transitions occurred during drying, we focused on two possible explanations: (a) a change in the drug distribution within the pellets and (b) a change in pellet micro-structure (porosity, pore size). The ibuprofen distribution proved to be homogeneous regardless of the drying conditions. Pellet porosity and pore sizes, however, were modified by the drying process. Our results clearly demonstrate that a single process step, such as drying, can play a crucial role in achieving desired pellet properties and release profiles.
desiccation; extrusion/spheronization; fluid bed; lyophilization
The aim of this study was to develop spheronized microparticulates as a drug delivery system using the 1-step closed rotor disk fluid-bed technology, and to scale up the batch spheronization process. Ibuprofen was used as the model drug and microcrystalline cellulose/sodium carboxymethyl cellulose hydrocolloid (Avicel® RC-581 or CL-611) was present as the diluent/binder. The mixture, in 1∶1 ratio, was blended with and without 1% sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and spheronized with the rotor disk insert, using either water or hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose (HPMC) as binder. Fluid-bed machines (Vector/Freund Flo-Coater model) FLM-1 (with 9-inch rotor insert for 0.75 kg) and FLM-15 (with a 12-inch and 19-inch rotor inserts for 1 kg and 5, 10 kg, respectively) were used. The critical process parameters included inlet air temperature, rotor disk speed and configuration, air flow, and rate of binder application. The 1 kg batch containing SLS that was made with 12-inch smooth stainless, steel or waffle teflon plates rotating at 500 rpm had desirable characteristics. The sphericity values were 0.88 and 0.91, with percent yield of 85.4 and 91.2 and drug content values of 94.47% and 91.44%, respectively. The spheroids showed good flow properties with respective rapid drug release (Q20=83.27 and 91.75). No difference was seen in the Avicel RC-581 and CL-611. Based on the 1 kg data, Avicel RC-581 and smooth stainless steel and waffle teflon plates (12 inch and 19 inch), the batch was scaled up to 5 and 10 kg. The scale-up parameters included rotor speed (124–300 rpm) and spray rate (90–140 g/min). The scale-up batches had similar flow characteristics, release rate, and size distribution. The geometric mean diameter increased as batch size increased, and slightly bigger spheroids were obtained using the waffle teflon plate. Ibuprofen spheres with very good physical characteristics were developed using the rotor disk fluid-bed technology, a 1-step closed process that did not require additional unit processes.
Rotor disk spheronization; fluid-bed technology; scale-up; ibuprofen; microcrystalline cellulose/sodium carboxymethyl cellulose
This study investigated the influence of the degree of polymerization (DP) of cellulose materials (microcrystalline cellulose [MCC]) on some powder properties and the compression behavior of these materials. The DP was determined by measurements of viscosity (H). The weight average of molecular weight and the weight average of the different DPs were investigated after MCC was modified to cellulose tricarbanilate by light scattering measurements. The DP showed a remarkable influence on the physicochemical properties of the cellulose materials and, consequently, on the behavior of these materials during compression. MCC types with a high DP value showed greater water absorption than the types with a low DP value. No relevant relationship between the crystallinity index and the DP could be observed. DP 190 showed lower compactibility and compressibility parameters than DP 244 and 299. No significant differences could be observed between DP 244 and 299 when the same particle size fraction was compressed. Furthermore, the compressibility was increased by increasing the DP.
microcrystalline cellulose; degree of polymerization; light scattering; cellulose tricarbanilate; compression; tablet
Modified-release multiple-unit tablets of loratadine and pseudoephedrine hydrochloride with different release profiles were prepared from the immediate-release pellets comprising the above two drugs and prolonged-release pellets containing only pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. The immediate-release pellets containing pseudoephedrine hydrochloride alone or in combination with loratadine were prepared using extrusion–spheronization method. The pellets of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride were coated to prolong the drug release up to 12 h. Both immediate- and prolonged-release pellets were filled into hard gelatin capsule and also compressed into tablets using inert tabletting granules of microcrystalline cellulose Ceolus KG-801. The in vitro drug dissolution study conducted using high-performance liquid chromatography method showed that both multiple-unit capsules and multiple-unit tablets released loratadine completely within a time period of 2 h, whereas the immediate-release portion of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride was liberated completely within the first 10 min of dissolution study. On the other hand, the release of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride from the prolonged release coated pellets was prolonged up to 12 hr and followed zero-order release kinetic. The drug dissolution profiles of multiple-unit tablets and multiple-unit capsules were found to be closely similar, indicating that the integrity of pellets remained unaffected during the compression process. Moreover, the friability, hardness, and disintegration time of multiple-unit tablets were found to be within BP specifications. In conclusion, modified-release pellet-based tablet system for the delivery of loratadine and pseudoephedrine hydrochloride was successfully developed and evaluated.
extrusion–spheronization; loratadine; modified-release multiple-unit tablet; pseudoephedrine hydrochloride
In recent years, extrusion technology has shifted the focus of pharmaceutical research due to versatile applications like pelletization, bioavailability improvement or manipulation of solid-state properties of drugs, continuous granulation, and the development of novel solid dosage forms. Meanwhile, a major effort has been devoted to the miniaturization of equipment in pharmaceutical extrusion technology, particularly with regard to the requirements of the development of new chemical entities and formulations. In the present study, a lab-scale twin-screw extruder was investigated in order to determine the limitations imposed by the feeding systems. The wet extrusion process was considered as challenging because both a powder and a liquid feeder have to be considered. Initially, the accuracy and uniformity of the powder and liquid feeder were tested independently of the extrusion process. After modification of the powder feeder, both feeders were investigated in conjunction with extrusion. Based on this, an optimization of the liquid feeder was required and completed. Both feeder modifications reduced the variability of the moisture content in the extrudates 10-fold. This led to a reliable small-scale extrusion process.
excipients; extrusion; feeding; granulation; MCC; processing; scaling; unit operations