Hot-melt extrusion technology and pharmaceutical application

M. Wilson, M.A. Williams, D.S. Jones, G.P. Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The use of hot-melt extrusion (HME) within the pharmaceutical industry is steadily increasing, due to its proven ability to efficiently manufacture novel products. The process has been utilized readily in the plastics industry for over a century and has been used to manufacture medical devices for several decades. The development of novel drugs with poor solubility and bioavailability brought the application of HME into the realm of drug-delivery systems. This has specifically been shown in the development of drug-delivery systems of both solid dosage forms and transdermal patches. HME involves the application of heat, pressure and agitation through an extrusion channel to mix materials together, and subsequently forcing them out through a die. Twin-screw extruders are most popular in solid dosage form development as it imparts both dispersive and distributive mixing. It blends materials while also imparting high shear to break-up particles and disperse them. HME extrusion has been shown to molecularly disperse poorly soluble drugs in a polymer carrier, increasing dissolution rates and bioavailability. The most common difficulty encountered in producing such dispersions is stabilization of amorphous drugs, which prevents them from recrystallization during storage. Pharmaceutical industrial suppliers, of both materials and equipment, have increased their development of equipment and chemicals for specific use with HME. Clearly, HME has been identified as an important and significant process to further enhance drug solubility and solid-dispersion production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-797
Number of pages11
JournalTherapeutic Delivery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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