Multivariate approaches for the development of quality control in-situ fiber optics dissolution methods for fixed-dose combination tablets

Drug Dev Ind Pharm. 2019 Jun;45(6):999-1008. doi: 10.1080/03639045.2019.1593435. Epub 2019 Mar 25.


The purpose of this research was to develop a fiber optic (FO) dissolution method for quantification of multiple actives in combination pharmaceutical tablets. FO dissolution allows direct API quantification in the vessel, obviating the need for error-prone facets of traditional dissolution methods. However, FO dissolution is potentially challenged by overlapping UV spectra, matrix effects, UV-active excipients, API interactions with excipients and media, and undissolved components attenuating the UV signal. These obstacles might render FO dissolution method development more complex than LC-end dissolution. The case study in this manuscript has the added complexity of a triple combination product (Midol), where acetaminophen, caffeine, and pyrilamine maleate exhibit similar release kinetics, share largely overlapping UV spectra and span an order of magnitude difference in concentration. Single-wavelength quantification required unique features for the actives of interest, which were not available for the formulation of interest without preprocessing. The methods employed for the quantification of actives were a partial least squares multivariate calibration and a peak area calibration, both using prepared mixtures as reference data. The selected combination tablet demonstrated collinear API release; therefore, individual quantification required a design of experiments for mixture design. The advantages of FO dissolution will be discussed in the context of the formulation under investigation. Additionally, some general guidelines will be suggested for the development of other FO methods.

Keywords: Dissolution; chemometrics; deconvolution; quality control; ultraviolet.

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / chemistry
  • Aspirin / pharmacokinetics
  • Caffeine / chemistry
  • Caffeine / pharmacokinetics
  • Calibration
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / standards
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Liberation*
  • Ephedrine / analogs & derivatives
  • Ephedrine / chemistry
  • Ephedrine / pharmacokinetics
  • Excipients / chemistry
  • Fiber Optic Technology*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Phenacetin / chemistry
  • Phenacetin / pharmacokinetics
  • Quality Control*
  • Solubility
  • Tablets
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods*
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / standards


  • Drug Combinations
  • Excipients
  • Tablets
  • Caffeine
  • Midol
  • Phenacetin
  • Ephedrine
  • Aspirin