Determination of albuterol and montelukast post-expiry drug strength by HPLC

Heliyon. 2022 Aug 5;8(8):e10104. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e10104. eCollection 2022 Aug.


Background: Knowing the level of active ingredients in an expired drug is a matter of concern irrespective of its final disposition. This is also a matter of national security and defense as it has important implications on the nation's stockpile of prescription medications. Current literature has limited information about the strength of expired medications and any relevant trends.

Objective: To utilize high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to determine the strength of selected drugs for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as a class of therapeutic agents commonly used in free clinics.

Methods: Samples from expired lots of montelukast and albuterol pharmaceutical products were analyzed for their levels of their respective active ingredients. Two HPLC methods were developed, validated, and applied to achieve this goal. Quantitative analysis of each drug was performed using two different reversed phase C18 columns with a linear gradient of acetonitrile in 0.1% aqueous formic acid at a flow rate of 1 mL/min for both methods. Detection wavelength for montelukast and albuterol was 280 and 277 nm, respectively.

Results: Expiry dates of analyzed batches ranged from 2003 to 2019. Despite the extended time range beyond expiry dates, levels of both drugs were relatively consistent and exceeded 90% of the listed strength in most analyzed lots.

Conclusions: Our results introduce a new perspective towards reducing the financial burden resulting from disposal of expired medications with retained strength. They also offer supporting evidence to extend the use of out-of-date montelukast and albuterol preparations at home and in free clinics.

Keywords: Albuterol; Asthma; COPD; Expired medications; HPLC; Montelukast.