Impact of alternative lubricants on process and tablet quality for direct compression

Internal lubrication with magnesium stearate (MgSt) is associated with a reduced tensile strength and prolonged disintegration and dissolution times. In the current study, alternative lubricants to MgSt were compared with regard to lubrication efficacy and their impact on tablet properties. The lubricants were combined in different concentrations (0.5 – 5% w/w) with three fillers (lactose, mannitol and microcrystalline cellulose (MCC)). The high lubrication efficiency of MgSt was associated with the highest reduction of tensile strength. The micronized stearic acid (SA) grades proved good alternatives as they showed a good lubrication efficiency in combination with a limited negative effect on tensile strength. The hydrophobic lubricants (e.g., MgSt and SA) did not prolong disintegration.

In contrast, delayed disintegration was observed for sucrose monopalmitate combined with all three fillers and for several other hydrophilic lubricants (sodium lauryl sulfate, poloxamers 188 and P407) combined with MCC. These unexpected findings were explained by the competition-for-water hypothesis. The potential of alternative lubricants to MgSt was demonstrated in this study. Nevertheless, the impact of lubricant addition on process and tablet quality depended on lubricant (type and concentration) and formulation (lubrication need, deformation mechanism and disintegration behavior) properties. Therefore, lubricant selection should be carefully considered in formulation development.

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Addtional excipients mentioned in the study: Sodium Stearyl Fumarate, Lubritab
Tableting was performed on an Medelpharm STYL’One Evo.

Cedrine de Backere, Julian Quodbach, Thomas De Beer, Chris Vervaet, Valérie Vanhoorne, Impact of alternative lubricants on process and tablet quality for direct compression, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2022, 122012, ISSN 0378-5173,

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