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Calculation of drug-polymer mixing enthalpy as a new screening method of precipitation inhibitors for supersaturating pharmaceutical formulations

: Price, D.J.; Nair, A.; Kuentz, M.; Dressman, J.; Saal, C.


European journal of pharmaceutical sciences : EUFEPS 132 (2019), S.142-156
ISSN: 0928-0987
ISSN: 1879-0720
Fraunhofer IME ()

Supersaturating formulations are widely used to improve the oral bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs. However, supersaturated solutions are thermodynamically unstable and such formulations often must include a precipitation inhibitor (PI) to sustain the increased concentrations to ensure that sufficient absorption will take place from the gastrointestinal tract. Recent advances in understanding the importance of drug-polymer interaction for successful precipitation inhibition have been encouraging. However, there still exists a gap in how this newfound understanding can be applied to improve the efficiency of PI screening and selection, which is still largely carried out with trial and error-based approaches. The aim of this study was to demonstrate how drug-polymer mixing enthalpy, calculated with the Conductor like Screening Model for Real Solvents (COSMO-RS), can be used as a parameter to select the most efficient precipitation inhibitors, and thus realize the most successful supersaturating formulations. This approach was tested for three different Biopharmaceutical Classification System (BCS) II compounds: dipyridamole, fenofibrate and glibenclamide, formulated with the supersaturating formulation, mesoporous silica. For all three compounds, precipitation was evident in mesoporous silica formulations without a precipitation inhibitor. Of the nine precipitation inhibitors studied, there was a strong positive correlation between the drug-polymer mixing enthalpy and the overall formulation performance, as measured by the area under the concentration-time curve in in vitro dissolution experiments. The data suggest that a rank-order based approach using calculated drug-polymer mixing enthalpy can be reliably used to select precipitation inhibitors for a more focused screening. Such an approach improves efficiency of precipitation inhibitor selection, whilst also improving the likelihood that the most optimal formulation will be realized.