Existence of a mannitol hydrate during freeze-drying and practical implications

J Pharm Sci. 1999 Feb;88(2):196-8. doi: 10.1021/js980323h.


We report thermal and crystallographic evidence for a previously unknown mannitol hydrate that is formed in the process of freeze-drying. The mannitol hydrate was produced by freeze-drying pure mannitol solutions (1-4% w/v) using the following cycle: (1) equilibration at -5 degreesC for 1 h; (2) freezing at -40 degreesC; (3) primary drying at -10 degreesC for 15 h; and (4) secondary drying at 10 degreesC for 2 h and then 25 degreesC for 5 h. This crystal form was also observed upon freeze-drying in the presence of sorbitol (1% w/v). The mannitol hydrate showed a distinct X-ray powder diffraction pattern, low melting point, and steplike desolvation behavior that is characteristic of crystalline hydrates. The mannitol hydrate was found to be metastable, converting to anhydrous polymorphs of mannitol upon heating and exposure to moisture. The amount of the mannitol hydrate varied significantly from vial to vial, even within the same batch. The formation of mannitol hydrate has several potential consequences: (1) reduced drying rate; (2) redistribution of the residual hydrate water during accelerated storage to the amorphous drug; and (3) vial-to-vial variation of the moisture level.

MeSH terms

  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
  • Crystallization
  • Drug Compounding
  • Excipients / chemistry*
  • Freeze Drying
  • Mannitol / chemistry*
  • Solutions
  • Thermogravimetry
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Excipients
  • Solutions
  • Mannitol