Pure drug nanoparticles in tablets: What are the dissolution limitations?
There has been increasing interests for drug companies to incorporate drug nanoparticles into their existing formulations. However, technical knowledge in this area is still in its infancy and more study needs to be done to stimulate growth in this fledging field. There is a need to scrutinize the performance of pure drug nanoparticles in tablets, particularly relating formulation variables to their dissolution performance. Application of the pure form, synthesized without the use of surfactants or stabilizers, is often preferred to maximize drug loading and also to minimize toxicity. Cefuroxime axetil, a poorly water-soluble cephalosporin antibiotic, was used as the model drug in the formulation development. Drug release rate, tablet disintegration time, tensile strength and energy of failure were predominantly influenced by the amount of super-disintegrant, amount of surfactant, compression force and diluent species, respectively. The compression rate had minimal impact on the responses. The main hurdle confronting the effective use of pure drug nanoparticles in tablets is the difficulty in controlling aggregation in solution, which could potentially be aggravated by the tabletting process. Through the use of elevated levels of surfactants (8 w/w% sodium dodecyl sulphate), drug release from the nanoparticle preparation was enhanced from 58.0 ± 2.7% to 72.3 ± 0.7% in 10 min. Hence, it is recommended that physical formulations for pure drug nanoparticles be focused on the particle de-aggregation step in solution, if much higher rates are to be desired. In conclusion, even though pure drug nanoparticles could be easily synthesized, limitations from aggregation may need to be overcome, before successful application in tablets can be fully realized.