Hot-melt co-extrusion: requirements, challenges and opportunities for pharmaceutical applications.

Research paper by An-Katrien AK Vynckier, Lien L Dierickx, Jody J Voorspoels, Yves Y Gonnissen, Jean Paul JP Remon, Chris C Vervaet

Indexed on: 18 Jan '14Published on: 18 Jan '14Published in: Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Co-extrusion implies the simultaneous hot-melt extrusion of two or more materials through the same die, creating a multi-layered extrudate. It is an innovative continuous production technology that offers numerous advantages over traditional pharmaceutical processing techniques. This review provides an overview of the co-extrusion equipment, material requirements and medical and pharmaceutical applications.The co-extrusion equipment needed for pharmaceutical production has been summarized. Because the geometrical design of the die dictates the shape of the final product, different die types have been discussed. As one of the major challenges at the moment is shaping the final product in a continuous way, an overview of downstream solutions for processing co-extrudates into drug products is provided. Layer adhesion, extrusion temperature and viscosity matching are pointed out as most important requirements for material selection. Examples of medical and pharmaceutical applications are presented and some recent findings considering the production of oral drug delivery systems have been summarized.Co-extrusion provides great potential for the continuous production of fixed-dose combination products which are gaining importance in pharmaceutical industry. There are still some barriers to the implementation of co-extrusion in the pharmaceutical industry. The optimization of downstream processing remains a point of attention.