Solvent-assisted hot melt extrusion of a thermally labile, high melting point compound

C Lagan, J E Huckle, J M Katz, B Khorsand, D Daurio, G P Andrews, J Chung, F Alvarez-Nunez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Molecular dispersions are a highly effective method of increasing bioavailability for a poorly soluble active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and can be prepared on a large scale by hot melt extrusion (HME). Processing thermally labile active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) via HME is generally more difficult, with operating temperatures limited to below that of the API melting point. API melting is considered essential to facilitate the formation of a fully homogeneous amorphous system. Processing below the melting point renders the system much more susceptible to residual crystalline content; hence, HME is not suitable for APIs which degrade upon melting. In the following work, meloxicam (MEL) was used as a model API, possessing properties of high melting temperature and thermal lability. In this proof of concept work, a modified HME method, termed solvent-assisted HME, was used to overcome this issue and prepare an amorphous solid dispersion using HME, wherein a solvent was incorporated in the formulation blend during extrusion and removed post-processing. Formulations containing 10%wt meloxicam (MEL) and 90%wt polyvinylpyrrolidone vinyl acetate (PVPVA) copolymer were extruded using a twin-screw extruder at temperatures below the melting point of MEL. Dimethylformamide (DMF) solvent was added directly into the extruder barrel through a liquid addition port, resulting in extrudate products having a higher conversion of API to the amorphous form. The incorporation of solvent allowed a significant reduction in processing temperatures due to its increased mobility, while also driving the conversion of the API to its amorphous form. The solvent was successfully reduced through a secondary drying step using a vacuum oven. This advancement has demonstrated the potential for thermally labile APIs to be processed via HME expanding the applications of this technology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number235
JournalAAPS PharmSciTech
Issue number7
Early online date08 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • hot melt extrusion
  • amorphous solid dispersion
  • meloxicam
  • thermal instability


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