Influence of aqueous coatings on the stability of enteric coated pellets and tablets

Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 1999 Jan;47(1):39-50. doi: 10.1016/s0939-6411(98)00086-1.


Pancreatin pellets, placebo pellets and tablets containing vitamin B2 were coated with various aqueous and organic enteric polymers, HPMCAS, HP, Eudragit L 100-55, Eudragit L 30 D-55, CAP, CAT, CMEC and PVAP, comparatively investigated and tested for storage stability. With the exception of Eudragit L 100-55 and Eudragit L 30 D-55, higher amounts of coating material were needed to achieve gastro-resistance with aqueous coating than with organic coating. Film formation from aqueous dispersions of micronized HP 55 was affected by the degree of micronization and was improved by reducing the particle size of the polymer. Undercoating was another suitable measure to decrease the amount of coating material required. The choice of plasticizer was of special importance in the aqueous dispersions, and type and quantity must be appropriate for the polymer applied. Non-polymeric plasticizers such as triethyl citrate (TEC) evaporated along with water during the spraying or drying process and high temperatures promoted such losses. The moisture-sensitive pancreatic enzymes were damaged both by humidity and heat during aqueous coating. The extent of damage was dependent on the coating equipment used. Upon storage, coatings obtained from aqueous dispersions showed changes in enteric performance or release characteristics as a consequence of three chemical/physical mechanisms: hydrolysis of ester linkages in the polymer or plasticizer, evaporation of the plasticizer, delayed film formation. The active ingredient pancreatin induced hydrolysis of the ester based film-former hydroxypropyl methylcellulose acetate succinate (HPMCAS). However, even without the influence of enzymes, the phthalic ester groups of aqueous hydroxypropyl methylcellulose phthalate (HP) were partly cleaved after 11 months storage. In HPMCAS-coated pancreatin pellets, the plasticizer glyceryl triacetate was almost completely hydrolyzed by the enzymes, whilst triethyl citrate was lost by evaporation through permeable packaging material at elevated temperatures. Open storage at elevated temperatures and humidities caused changes in the surface structure of HPMCAS coatings, consisting of a smoothing of the originally somewhat porous film and sticking. When applied to vitamin B2 tablets, Eudragit L 100-55, Opadry enteric (PVAP) and Aqoat (HPMCAS) proved to be quite stable aqueous enteric coatings, whereas cellulose acetate phthalate CAP or cellulose acetate trimellitate CAT coatings as ammonia-neutralized aqueous solution or as water-based pseudolatex Aquateric were unstable when stored under stress conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drug Implants*
  • Drug Stability
  • Lipase
  • Pancreatin*
  • Particle Size
  • Plasticizers
  • Polymers*
  • Riboflavin*
  • Tablets, Enteric-Coated*
  • Volatilization
  • Water / chemistry


  • Drug Implants
  • Plasticizers
  • Polymers
  • Tablets, Enteric-Coated
  • Water
  • Pancreatin
  • Lipase
  • Riboflavin