Currently in the pharmaceutical industry, continuous manufacturing is an area of significant interest. In particular, hot-melt extrusion (HME) offers many advantages and has been shown to significantly reduce the number of processing steps relative to a conventional product manufacturing line. To control product quality during HME without process interruption, integration of inline analytical technology is critical. Vibrational spectroscopy (Raman, NIR and FT-IR) is often employed and used for real-time measurements because of the non-destructive and rapid nature of these analytical techniques. However, the establishment of reliable Process Analytical Technology (PAT) tools for HME of thermolabile drugs is challenging. Indeed, Raman effect is inherently weak and might be subject to interference such as scattering, absorption and fluorescence. Moreover, during HME, heating and photodecomposition can occur and disrupt spectra acquisition. The aim of this research article was to explore the use of inline Raman spectroscopy to characterise a thermolabile drug, ramipril (RMP), during continuous HME processing. Offline measurements by HPLC, LC-MS and Raman spectroscopy were used to characterise RMP and its main degradation product, ramipril-diketopiperazine (RMP-DKP, impurity K). A set of HME experiments together with inline Raman spectroscopic analysis were performed. The feasibility of implementing inline Raman spectroscopic analysis to quantify the level of RMP and RMP-DKP in the extrudate was addressed. Two regions in the Raman spectrum were selected to differentiate RMP and RMP-DKP. When regions were combined, a principle component analysis (PCA) model defined by these two main components (PC 1=50.1% and PC 2=45%) was established. Using HPLC analyses, we were able to confirm that the PC 1 score was attributed to the level of RMP-DKP, and the PC 2 score was related to the RMP drug content. Investigation of the PCA scatterplot indicated that HME processing temperature was not the only factor causing RMP degradation. Additionally, the plasticiser content, feeding speed and screw rotating speed can all contribute to the RMP degradation during HME processing.
The Development of an Inline Raman Spectroscopic Analysis Method as a Quality Control Tool for Hot Melt Extruded Ramipril Fixed-dose Combination Products
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