Influence of Crystal Disorder on the Forced Oxidative Degradation of Vortioxetine HBr

AAPS PharmSciTech. 2023 Dec 29;25(1):10. doi: 10.1208/s12249-023-02721-6.


The present study investigates the impact of the solid-state disorder of vortioxetine hydrobromide (HBr) on oxidative degradation under accelerated conditions. A range of solid-state disorders was generated via cryogenic ball milling. The solid-state properties were evaluated by calorimetry, infrared-, and Raman spectroscopies. While salt disproportionation occurred upon milling, no chemical degradation occurred by milling. The amorphous fraction remained physically intact under ambient storage conditions. Subsequently, samples with representative disordered fractions were mixed with a solid oxidative stressor (PVP-H2O2 complex) and were compressed to compacts. The compacts were exposed to 40°C/75% RH for up to 6 h. The sample was periodically withdrawn and analyzed for the physical transformations and degradation. Two oxidative degradation products (DPs) were found to be formed, for which dissimilar relations to the degree of disorder and kinetics of formation were observed. The degradation rate of the major DP formation obtained by fitting the exponential model to the experimental data was found to increase up to a certain degree of disorder and decrease with a further increase in the disordered fraction. In contrast, the minor DP formation kinetics was found to increase monotonically with the increase in the disorder content. For the similar crystallinity level, the degradation trend (rate and extent) differed between the single-phase disorder generated by milling and physically mixed two-phase systems. Overall, the study demonstrates the importance of evaluating the physical and chemical (in)stabilities of the disordered solid state of a salt form of a drug substance, generated through mechano-activation.

Keywords: drug oxidation; milling; physical stability; salt disproportionation; solid-state disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
  • Drug Stability
  • Hydrogen Peroxide*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Vortioxetine


  • Vortioxetine
  • Hydrogen Peroxide