Evaluation of the coat quality of sustained release pellets by individual pellet dissolution methodology

Min Xu, Celine Valeria Liew, Paul Wan Sia Heng

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This study explored the application of 400-DS dissolution apparatus 7 for individual pellet dissolution methodology by a design of experiment approach and compared its capability with that of the USP dissolution apparatus 1 and 2 for differentiating the coat quality of sustained release pellets. Drug loaded pellets were prepared by extrusion-spheronization from powder blends comprising 50%, w/w metformin, 25%, w/w microcrystalline cellulose and 25%, w/w lactose, and then coated with ethyl cellulose to produce sustained release pellets with 8% and 10%, w/w coat weight gains. Various pellet properties were investigated, including cumulative drug release behaviours of ensemble and individual pellets. When USP dissolution apparatus 1 and 2 were used for drug release study of the sustained release pellets prepared, floating and clumping of pellets were observed and confounded the release profiles of the ensemble pellets. Hence, the release profiles obtained did not characterize the actual drug release from individual pellet and the applicability of USP dissolution apparatus 1 and 2 to evaluate the coat quality of sustained release pellets was limited. The cumulative release profile of individual pellet using the 400-DS dissolution apparatus 7 was found to be more precise at distinguishing differences in the applied coat quality. The dip speed and dip interval of the reciprocating holder were critical operational parameters of 400-DS dissolution apparatus 7 that affected the drug release rate of a sustained release pellet during the individual dissolution study. The individual dissolution methodology using the 400-DS dissolution apparatus 7 is a promising technique to evaluate the individual pellet coat quality without the influence of confounding factors such as pellet floating and clumping observed during drug release test with dissolution apparatus 1 and 2, as well as to facilitate the elucidation of the actual drug release mechanism conferred by the applied sustained release coat onto the pellets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-327
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Coat quality
  • Drug release profile
  • Individual pellet dissolution
  • Sustained release pellets

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