Effect of Polymer Species on Maximum Aqueous Phase Supersaturation Revealed by Quantitative Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.

Research paper by Keisuke K Ueda, Dana E DE Moseson, Vaibhav V Pathak, Lynne S LS Taylor

Indexed on: 18 Feb '21Published on: 18 Feb '21Published in: Molecular Pharmaceutics


The polymer used in an amorphous solid dispersion (ASD) formulation impacts the maximum achievable drug supersaturation. Herein, the effect of dissolved polymer on drug concentration in the aqueous phase when a drug-rich phase was generated by liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) was investigated for different polymers at various concentrations of drug and polymer. Solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy revealed that polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), polyvinylpyrrolidone/vinyl acetate (PVP-VA), and hypromellose (HPMC) distributed into the ibuprofen (IBP)-rich phase formed by LLPS when the amorphous solubility of IBP was exceeded. The amount of polymer in the drug-rich phase increased for higher-molecular-weight grades of PVP and HPMC. Moreover, PVP-VA showed a greater extent of distribution into the IBP-rich phase compared to PVP, and this is attributed to its reduced hydrophilicity resulting from the incorporation of vinyl acetate monomers. Direct quantification by NMR measurements indicated that the IBP concentration in the aqueous phase decreased as the amount of polymer in the IBP-rich phase increased. This can be attributed to a reduction of the chemical potential of IBP in the IBP-rich phase. The reduction in dissolved IBP concentration was greater for the IBP/PVP-VA system compared to the IBP/HPMC system, as a result of more extensive drug-polymer interactions in the former system. The present study highlights the impact of polymer selection on the attainable supersaturation of the drug and the factors that need to be considered in the formulation of ASDs to obtain optimized in vivo performance.