The purpose of this work was to investigate the application of different advanced continuous processing techniques (hot melt extrusion and spray drying) to the production of fixed-dose combination (FDC) monolithic systems comprising of hydrochlorothiazide and ramipril for the treatment of hypertension. Identical FDC formulations were manufactured by the two different methods and were characterised using powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) and modulated differential scanning calorimetry (mDSC). Drug dissolution rates were investigated using a Wood's apparatus, while physical stability was assessed on storage under controlled temperature and humidity conditions. Interestingly both drugs were transformed into their amorphous forms when spray dried, however, hydrochlorothiazide was determined, by PXRD, to be partially crystalline when hot melt extruded with either polymer carrier (Kollidon® VA 64 or Soluplus®). Hot melt extrusion was found to result in significant degradation of ramipril, however, this could be mitigated by the inclusion of the plasticizer, polyethylene glycol 3350, in the formulation and appropriate adjustment of processing temperature. The results of intrinsic dissolution rate studies showed that hot-melt extruded samples were found to release both drugs faster than identical formulations produced via spray drying. However, the differences were attributable to the surface roughness of the compressed discs in the Wood's apparatus, rather than solid state differences between samples. After a 60-day stability study spray dried samples exhibited a greater physical stability than the equivalent hot melt extruded samples.
Keywords: Amorphous solid dispersions; Continuous manufacture; Fixed dose combinations; Hot melt extrusion; Spray drying.
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