Novel Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Impregnation Technique for the Production of Amorphous Solid Drug Dispersions: A Comparison to Hot Melt Extrusion

Catherine Potter, Yiwei Tian, Gavin Walker, Colin McCoy, Peter Hornsby, Conor Donnelly, David S. Jones, Gavin P. Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The formulation of BCS Class II drugs as amorphous solid dispersions has been shown to provide advantages with respect to improving the aqueous solubility of these compounds. While hot melt extrusion (HME) and spray drying (SD) are among the most common methods for the production of amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs), the high temperatures often required for HME can restrict the processing of thermally labile drugs, while the use of toxic organic solvents during SD can impact on end-product toxicity. In this study, we investigated the potential of supercritical fluid impregnation (SFI) using carbon dioxide as an alternative process for ASD production of a model poorly water-soluble drug, indomethacin (INM). In doing so, we produced ASDs without the use of organic solvents and at temperatures considerably lower than those required for HME. Previous studies have concentrated on the characterization of ASDs produced using HME or SFI but have not considered both processes together. Dispersions were manufactured using two different polymers, Soluplus and polyvinylpyrrolidone K15 using both SFI and HME and characterized for drug morphology, homogeneity, presence of drug-polymer interactions, glass transition temperature, amorphous stability of the drug within the formulation, and nonsink drug release to measure the ability of each formulation to create a supersaturated drug solution. Fully amorphous dispersions were successfully produced at 50% w/w drug loading using HME and 30% w/w drug loading using SFI. For both polymers, formulations containing 50% w/w INM, manufactured via SFI, contained the drug in the γ-crystalline form. Interestingly, there were lower levels of crystallinity in PVP dispersions relative to SOL. FTIR was used to probe for the presence of drug-polymer interactions within both polymer systems. For PVP systems, the nature of these interactions depended upon processing method; however, for Soluplus formulations this was not the case. The area under the dissolution curve (AUC) was used as a measure of the time during which a supersaturated concentration could be maintained, and for all systems, SFI formulations performed better than similar HME formulations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1377-1390
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2015


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