Various regulatory authorities such as the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH), the United States Food and Drug administration (FDA), and the Canadian Drug and Health Agency (CDHA) are emphasizing on the purity requirements and the identification of impurities in Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). The various sources of impurity in pharmaceutical products are - reagents, heavy metals, ligands, catalysts, other materials like filter aids, charcoal, and the like, degraded end products obtained during \ after manufacturing of bulk drugs from hydrolysis, photolytic cleavage, oxidative degradation, decarboxylation, enantiomeric impurity, and so on. The different pharmacopoeias such as the British Pharmacopoeia, United State Pharmacopoeia, and Indian Pharmacopoeia are slowly incorporating limits to allowable levels of impurities present in APIs or formulations. Various methods are used to isolate and characterize impurities in pharmaceuticals, such as, capillary electrophoresis, electron paramagnetic resonance, gas-liquid chromatography, gravimetric analysis, high performance liquid chromatography, solid-phase extraction methods, liquid-liquid extraction method, Ultraviolet Spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy, supercritical fluid extraction column chromatography, mass spectrometry, Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and RAMAN spectroscopy. Among all hyphenated techniques, the most exploited techniques for impurity profiling of drugs are Liquid Chromatography (LC)-Mass Spectroscopy (MS), LC-NMR, LC-NMR-MS, GC-MS, and LC-MS. This reveals the need and scope of impurity profiling of drugs in pharmaceutical research.
Keywords: Characterization; NMR; chromatography; identification; impurities; mass spectrometry.