Pharmaceutical technologies for improving drug loading in the formulation of solid dispersions

O'Donnell, Kevin Patrick
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It is estimated that 90% of new chemical entities in development pipelines exhibit poor aqueous solubility. For compounds not limited by biological membrane permeability, this poor aqueous solubility is the limiting factor in bioavailability. Therefore, the formulation of such drugs has primarily been centered on improving dissolution properties. Traditional approaches for overcoming poor aqueous solubility include salt formation of the active ingredient, complexation, the use of surface active agents, formulation into oil based systems, particle size reduction, or a combination of these methods. More recently amorphous solid dispersions have been explored. Currently, the drug loading within solid dispersions is limited resulting in large quantities of the formulation being required for a therapeutically relevant dose. In the frame of the work herein, Thin Film Freezing was utilized to generate high drug loaded amorphous solid dispersions of the poorly water soluble drug phenytoin utilizing a hydrophilic polymer or an amphiphilic graft copolymer for system stabilization. Additionally a new solvent removal technique, atmospheric freeze drying, was investigated for removal of the solvents used during Thin Film Freezing. The Thin Film Freezing materials were subsequently incorporated into a polymeric carrier for solid dispersion formulation by a novel fusion production technique termed Kinetisol® dispersing. Studies of the solid dispersions produced by Thin Film Freezing revealed an amorphous system had been obtained for both stabilizing polymers. The formulation containing a hydrophilic carrier was capable of achieving supersaturation. Conversely, the amphiphilic graft copolymer demonstrated a phenytoin-polymer interaction resulting in poor dissolution. Atmospheric freeze drying of the Thin Film Freezing product demonstrated that the alternative drying technique generated powders with significantly improved handling properties as a result of reduced electrostatic interactions due to the increased pore size, reduced surface area, larger particle size, and higher, though acceptable, residual solvent levels. The use of Thin Film Freezing powders during Kinetisol Dispersing resulted in a single phase amorphous system while solid dispersions produced from physical mixtures of bulk materials were amorphous two-phase systems. This indicates that the use of amorphous drug compositions during solid dispersion production may increase drug loading in the final system while remaining single phase in nature.