Co-processing of small molecule excipients with polymers to improve functionality


Polymers have various applications such as binder, film coating agent, stabilizer, drug release modification and as primary packaging materials. Recently, they have been explored in co-processing technique to improve the functionality of small molecule excipients (SMEs). Co-processing is a concept wherein two or more excipients interact at sub-particle level to provide synergy in functionality and minimize drawbacks of individual excipients.

Article highlights

Co-processing represents a simple, efficient and economical approach for the development of high-functionality excipients

Co-processing of SMEs with polymers is widely explored as evident by literature and marketed products

Polymer properties like molecular weight, particle size, mechanical, binding, disintegration and diluent as pharmaceutical excipient are discussed

Co-processing of SMEs with polymers is able to improve functionality such as compactibility, tabletability, compressibility, flow property, disintegration ability, content uniformity, controlled or sustained-release, palatability and stability

Current research findings, patents and marketed products based on co-processing of SMEs with polymers are summarized

Area covered

The present review highlights the application of co-processing to improve the functionality of SMEs using polymers; physicochemical and mechanical properties of polymers for co-processing; advantages of co-processed excipients for different applications; functionality enhancement of co-processed excipients; novel concepts/methods for co-processing; mechanistic insights on co-processing and commercial products available in the market.

Expert opinion

Most of the SMEs do not possess optimal multifunctional properties like flow, compressibility, compactibility and disintegration ability, required to compensate poorly compactable drugs. Some of these drawbacks can be overcome by co-processing of SMEs with polymers. For example, co-processing of a brittle SME and plastic material (polymer) can provide a synergistic effect and result in the generation of single entity multi-functional excipient. Besides, novel co-processed excipients generated using combinations of SMEs and polymers can also generate intellectual property rights.

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Article Information: Prashantkumar K. Parmar, Srilaxmi G. Rao & Arvind K. Bansal (2021) Co-processing of small molecule excipients with polymers to improve functionality, Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, DOI: 10.1080/17425247.2021.1873946

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