An investigation of the production of non-coated sustained release beads by extrusion and Spheronization
The popularity and increasing complexity of sustained release dosage forms has resulted in increased costs to the patient. One approach to achieve cheaper, yet effective, sustained release medication is through the simplification of production processes. Matrix tablets have been used to sustain the release of numerous drugs and are cheap to prepare. Since they are single-unit dosage forms, however, they display less predictable transit through the gastrointestinal tract. Hence, they provide less reliable blood levels of the drug in comparison with multi particulate dosage forms. Of the various types of multiparticulates available, pellets are popular for oral administration. A fairly recent innovation, in pelletization technology, is extrusion and spheronization. With this technique it is possible to produce pellets with a high degree of drug loading directly and rapidly. The drug loaded beads are usually coated for a sustained release effect. If one could omit the coating step, it would avoid many problems (thus reducing the number of quality control procedures required) and save chemicals, labour and capital for the purchase of additional equipment. The primary aim of this project was to investigate the preparation of non-coated, spheronized sustained release pellets, while a secondary aim was to prepare beads that can be compressed into sustained release tablets. A tablet can accommodate a larger mass and the compaction forces involved may enhance the sustained release effect. Several techniques were used in an attempt to sustain the release of drugs of different solubilities. In one series of formulations, a novel method was used to incorporate a binder consisting of ethylcellulose in ethanol. Using this technique, the release of Theophylline was sustained for approximately 8 hours. In other formulations, several materials were added to beads with the aim of forming sustained release matrixes. Only magnesium stearate was able to prolong the release of Acetaminophen and Theophylline for a reasonable time. In an attempt to explain why materials that were successfully used in sustained release matrix tablets were of very limited value in beads, an equation was developed to calculate the approximate distance between the retardant particles. Calculations using this equation revealed that the retardant particles were too far apart, within each bead, to expect consolidation to occur. The discrete retardant particles do not retard drug release effectively. Eudragit?-containing beads, which sustained the release of the drug to a small extent, were successfully compressed into tablets, both on their own and in combination with non pareil seeds. In each case, the sustained release effect was improved by compaction. In the case of the products manufactured with non pareil seeds, the tablets disintegrated rapidly to release the beads, thus ensuring that the advantages of multiparticulates were maintained. Because it was realised that a large amount of the matrix material could not be incorporated within the beads if a high dose drug was formulated with Avicel? PH 101, the idea of forming the matrix outside the beads was developed. Several materials were tried in an attempt to form a sustained release external matrix. Eudragit? RSPO prolonged the dissolution of Theophylline for more than four hours. Magnesium stearate was able to sustain the release of Acetaminophen and Theophylline appreciably. In the latter case, the dissolution, in water, of a standard adult dose of the drug was prolonged for more than 12 hours. However, the dissolution in an acidic medium was much faster. The described technique represents an advance in extrusion and spheronization technology. While beads containing Cutina? HR did not show promise as sustained release units, they compacted to form sustained release tablets of good appearance and acceptable strength. These tablets were considered to have been efficiently prepared because the constituent beads were easily manufactured and showed good flowability, and because a glidant and a lubricant were not required. The production of sustained release Indomethacin beads with a more steady release profile than the innovator's product has also been described in other experiments. The research described in this thesis represents progress towards the widespread commercial production of effective non-coated sustained release beads and may encourage further work towards this goal.