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In situ FT-IR investigation of etravirine speciation in pores of SBA-15 ordered mesoporous silica material upon contact with water.


Ordered mesoporous silica (OMS) has been recognized as promising adsorbent material for drug molecules with low aqueous solubility. The release of drug molecules from OMS upon contact with aqueous environment enhances their oral bioavailability. The release is governed by a complex interplay of adsorption, diffusion, and intermolecular interaction inside OMS pores. The presence of water hampers in situ FT-IR investigation of the behavior of the drug molecules upon release. The poorly water-soluble etravirine molecule having two nitrile functions was selected for an in situ FT-IR spectroscopic investigation of the release process. The stretching vibration of the nitrile organic function (υ(CN)) is a spectral feature that is accessible to FT-IR even in the presence of water. Etravirine depending on the loading was found to be present in SBA-15 pores as isolated adsorbed molecules, solvated molecules, and aggregates with intermolecular interaction similar to the crystalline state, each with a different spectroscopic fingerprint. Etravirine evacuation from the SBA-15 pores was shown to proceed in the solvated state. Surprisingly, the etravirine clusters inside pores were converted more readily into solvated molecules compared to individually adsorbed molecules.