Thermokinetic processing of supersaturating and mucoadhesive amorphous solid dispersions




LaFountaine, Justin Scott

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Thermal processing of amorphous solid dispersions continues to gain interest in the pharmaceutical industry, as evident by several recently approved commercial products. Still, a number of pharmaceutical polymer carriers exhibit thermal or viscoelastic limitations in thermal processing, especially at smaller scales. Additionally, active pharmaceutical ingredients with high melting points and /or that are thermally labile present their own specific challenges. A number of formulation and process driven strategies to enable thermal processing of challenging compositions have been adopted including the use of traditional plasticizers and surfactants, temporary plasticizers utilizing sub- or supercritical carbon dioxide, designer polymers tailored for hot melt extrusion processing, and KinetiSol® Dispersing technology. The objective of the first study was to compare and contrast two thermal processing methods, HME and KinetiSol® Dispersing (KSD), and investigate the influence of polymer type, polymer molecular weight, and drug loading on the ability to produce amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs) containing the model compound griseofulvin (GRIS). Dispersions were analyzed by a variety of imaging, solid-state, thermal, and solution-state techniques. Dispersions were prepared by both HME and KSD using polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) K17 or hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) E5. Dispersions were only prepared by KSD using higher molecular weight grades of HPMC and PVP, as these could not be extruded under the conditions selected. PXRD analysis showed that dispersions prepared by HME were amorphous at 10 and 20% drug load; however, showed significant crystallinity at 40% drug load. PXRD analysis of KSD samples showed all formulations and drug loads to be amorphous with the exception of trace crystallinity seen in PVP K17 and PVP K30 samples at 40% drug load. These results were further supported by other analytical techniques. KSD produced amorphous dispersions at higher drug loads than could be prepared by HME, as well as with higher molecular weight polymers that were not processable by HME, due to its higher rate of shear and torque output. The purpose of the second study was to evaluate the feasibility of processing polyvinyl alcohol amorphous solid dispersions utilizing the model compound ritonavir with KinetiSol® Dispersing (KSD) technology. Polyvinyl alcohol has received little attention as a matrix polymer in amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs) due to its thermal and rheological limitations in extrusion processing and limited organic solubility in spray drying applications. Additionally, in extrusion processing, the high temperatures required to process often exclude thermally labile APIs. The effects of KSD rotor speed and ejection temperature on the physicochemical properties of the processed material were evaluated. Powder X-ray diffraction and modulated differential scanning calorimetry were used to confirm amorphous conversion. Liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy was used to characterize and identify degradation pathways of ritonavir during KSD processing and ¹³C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to investigate polymer stability. An optimal range of processing conditions was found that resulted in amorphous product and minimal to no drug and polymer degradation. Drug release of the ASD produced from the optimal processing conditions was evaluated using a non-sink, pH-shift dissolution test. The ability to process amorphous solid dispersions with polyvinyl alcohol as a matrix polymer will enable further investigations of the polymer’s performance in amorphous systems for poorly water-soluble compounds. The oral delivery of mucoadhesive patches has been shown to enhance the absorption of large molecules such as peptides. In this study, we hypothesized that this mechanism could have utility for poorly soluble small molecules by utilizing a mucoadhesive polymer as the matrix for an amorphous solid dispersion. Binary dispersions of itraconazole and Carbopol 71G were prepared utilizing a thermokinetic mixing process (KinetiSol Dispersing) and the physicochemical properties were investigated by powder x-ray diffraction, calorimetry, and liquid chromatography. Adhesion of the dispersions to freshly excised porcine intestine was investigated with a texture analyzer. Minitablets were compressed from the optimal dispersion and further investigated in vitro and in vivo in rats. Thermokinetic mixing successfully processed amorphous dispersions up to 30% drug loading and each dispersion exhibited works of adhesion that were approximately an order of magnitude greater than a negative control in vitro. Ethylcellulose (EC) coated and uncoated minitablets prepared with the 30% drug load dispersion were delivered orally to rats and exhibited sustained release characteristics, with overall bioavailability greater for the uncoated minitablets compared to the EC-coated minitablets, similar to the rank order observed in our in vitro dissolution experiments. Necropsy studies showed that minitablets delivered with enteric-coated capsules targeted release to the distal small intestine and adhered to the intestinal mucosa, but the rat model presented limitations with respect to evaluating the overall performance. Based on the in vitro and in vivo results, further investigations in larger animals are a logical next step where fluid volumes, pH, and transit times are more favorable for the evaluated dosage forms.


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