Multi-dimensional visualization for the morphology of lubricant stearic acid particles and their distribution in tablets
The shapes of particles and their distribution in tablets, controlled by pretreatment and tableting process, determine the pharmaceutical performance of excipient like lubricant. This study aims to provide deeper insights to the relationship of the morphology and spatial distribution of stearic acid (SA) with the lubrication efficiency, as well as the resulting tablet property.
Unmodified SA particles as flat sheet-like particles were firstly reprocessed by emulsification in hot water to obtain the reprocessed SA particles with spherical morphology. The three-dimensional (3D) information of SA particles in tablets was detected by a quantitative and non-invasive 3D structure elucidation technique, namely, synchrotron radiation X-ray micro-computed tomography (SR-μCT). SA particles in glipizide tablets prepared by using unmodified SA (GUT), reprocessed SA (GRT), as well as reference listed drug (RLD) of glipizide tablets were analyzed by SR-μCT. The results showed that the reprocessed SA with better flowability contributed to similarity of breaking forces between that of GRT and RLD. SA particles in GRT were very similar to those in RLD with uniform morphology and particle size, while SA particles in GUT were not evenly distributed.
These findings not only demonstrated the feasibility of SR-μCT as a new method in revealing the morphology and spatial distribution of excipient in drug delivery system, but also deepened insights of solid dosage form design into a new scale by powder engineering.