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Concept: Dosage form


The efficacy of antiretroviral therapy is significantly compromised by medication non-adherence. Long-acting enteral systems that can ease the burden of daily adherence have not yet been developed. Here we describe an oral dosage form composed of distinct drug-polymer matrices which achieved week-long systemic drug levels of the antiretrovirals dolutegravir, rilpivirine and cabotegravir in a pig. Simulations of viral dynamics and patient adherence patterns indicate that such systems would significantly reduce therapeutic failures and epidemiological modelling suggests that using such an intervention prophylactically could avert hundreds of thousands of new HIV cases. In sum, weekly administration of long-acting antiretrovirals via a novel oral dosage form is a promising intervention to help control the HIV epidemic worldwide.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Protease inhibitor, Viral load, Pharmacology, Route of administration, Dosage form


Introduction: Orally disintegrating tablets (ODTs) have emerged as one of the novel solid oral dosage forms with a potential to deliver a wide range of drug candidates to both paediatric and geriatric patient populations. Of the plethora of available technologies, compression of excipients offers a cost-effective and translatable methodology for the manufacture of ODTs. Areas covered: The review is a modest endeavour from the authors to assemble literature published over the last couple of decades on formulation development of compressed ODT. It describes the main ODT excipients used since the introduction of this dosage form in the 1990s and explores the switch from cellulose-based excipients towards sugar/polyols. Furthermore, it unfolds the key properties of ODT fillers, binders and disintegrants with an emphasis on their advantages and drawbacks. The review also provides a critical assessment of the various strategies employed for performance enhancement of compressed ODT with a focus on the underlying mechanisms for fast disintegration and acceptable mechanical strength. Expert opinion: Recent increase in the total number of compression-based technologies for ODT development promises to reduce the manufacturing cost of this dosage form in the future. However, some of the developed methods may affect the stability of tablets due to susceptibility to moisture, collapse of pores or the generation of less stable polymorphs which require rigorous testing prior to commercialization.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Novel, Strength of materials, Tablet, Excipient, Dosage forms, Compression, Dosage form


Medication in patients undergoing enteral intubation addresses various challenging issues considering safety and treatment efficiency. Ideally, other routes of administration (i.e. intravenous or intramuscular routes) or especially dedicated formulations should be used. However, in absence of liquid dosage form, tablets or pills must be crushed and suspended in a vehicle before administration. The administration of oral dosage forms by enteral tube is usually performed by the nursing staff facing (i) pharmaceutical relevance of crushing, (ii) loss and concomitant aero-contamination of drug substance (iii) drug-nutriment interactions and (iv) enteral feeding tube clogging. In the present study, different combinations of either open or confined crushing and suspending protocols were compared by taking into account the crushing yield, the stability and granulometry of the solid oral form suspension and finally the extend of aerosol contamination during crushing and suspending. All protocols exhibited comparable crushing efficiency and suspending properties, but significantly higher aerosolisation of tablet particles was observed in both open crushing and suspending protocol. Therefore, both confined crushing and suspending protocol constitutes an efficient, time saving and safe alternative to the absence of available liquid dosage form for intubated patients.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Drug, Feeding tube, Route of administration, Pharmaceutical formulation, Routes of administration, Dosage forms, Dosage form


The development of an appropriate dosage form for pediatric patients needs to take into account several aspects, since adult drug biodistribution differs from that of pediatrics. In recent years, buccal administration has become an attractive route, having different dosage forms under development including tablets, lozenges, films, and solutions among others. Furthermore, the buccal epithelium can allow quick access to systemic circulation, which could be used for a rapid onset of action. For pediatric patients, dosage forms to be placed in the oral cavity have higher requirements for palatability to increase acceptance and therapy compliance. Therefore, an understanding of the excipients required and their functions and properties needs to be particularly addressed. This review is focused on the differences and requirements relevant to buccal administration for pediatric patients (compared to adults) and how novel dosage forms can be less invasive and more acceptable alternatives.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Heart, Physician, Requirement, Dosage forms, Adult development, Dosage form


Parenteral products should aim toward being isotonic and euhydric (physiological pH). Yet, due to other considerations, this goal is often not reasonable or doable. There are no clear allowable ranges related to pH and osmolality, and thus, the objective of this review was to provide a better understanding of acceptable formulation pH, buffer strength, and osmolality taking into account the administration route (i.e., intramuscular, intravenous, subcutaneous) and administration technique (i.e., bolus, push, infusion). This evaluation was based on 3 different approaches: conventional, experimental, and parametric. The conventional way of defining formulation limits was based on standard pH and osmolality ranges. Experimental determination of titratable acidity or in vitro hemolysis testing provided additional drug product information. Finally, the parametric approach was based on the calculation of theoretical values such as (1) the maximal volume of injection which cannot shift the blood’s pH or its molarity out of the physiological range and (b) a dilution ratio at the injection site and by verifying that threshold values are not exceeded. The combination of all 3 approaches can support the definition of acceptable pH, buffer strength, and osmolality of formulations and thus may reduce the risk of failure during preclinical and clinical development.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Acid, Intravenous therapy, PH, Route of administration, Bolus, Routes of administration, Dosage form


The development of topical anti-HIV microbicides may provide women with strategies to protect themselves against sexual HIV transmission. Pericoital drug delivery systems intended for use immediately before sex, such as microbicide gels, must deliver high drug doses for maximal effectiveness. The goal of achieving a high antiretroviral dose is complicated by the need to simultaneously retain the dose and quickly release drug compounds into the tissue. For drugs with limited solubility in vaginal gels, increasing the gel volume to increase the dose can result in leakage. While solid dosage forms like films and tablets increase retention, they often require more than 15 minutes to fully dissolve, potentially increasing the risk of inducing epithelial abrasions during sex. Here, we demonstrate that water-soluble electrospun fibers, with their high surface area to volume ratio and ability to disperse antiretrovirals, can serve as an alternative solid dosage form for microbicides requiring both high drug loading and rapid hydration. We formulate maraviroc at up to 28 wt% into electrospun solid dispersions made from either polyvinylpyrrolidone or poly(ethylene oxide) nano- or micro-fibers, and investigate the role of drug loading, distribution, and crystallinity in determining drug release rates into aqueous media. We show that water-soluble electrospun materials can rapidly release maraviroc upon contact with moisture, and that drug delivery is faster (less than 6 minutes under sink conditions) when maraviroc is electrospun in polyvinylpyrrolidone fibers containing an excipient wetting agent. These materials offer an alternative dosage form to current pericoital microbicides.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Pharmacology, Dose, Route of administration, Dosage forms, Dosage form


Prescription opioid abuse and misuse is a serious and growing public health issue. While the most common form of abuse is swallowing intact tablets/capsules, some abusers manipulate, or tamper with, these medications by altering the dosage form to allow for non-oral routes of administration (e.g., injection, inhalation) in order to achieve more rapid or enhanced psychoactive effects. Because administration of opioids via non-oral routes results in greater systemic availability and more rapid central nervous system penetration, we hypothesized that death and major medical outcomes occur more frequently with non-oral routes compared to oral route alone.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Pharmacology, Brain, Opioid, Route of administration, Injection, Dosage form


The aim of the present work is to extensively evaluate the pharmaceutical attributes of currently available riluzole presentations. The article describes the limitations and risks associated with the administration of crushed tablets, including the potential for inaccurate dosing and reduced rate of absorption when riluzole is administered with high-fat foods, and the advantages that a recently approved innovative oral liquid form of riluzole confers on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. The article further evaluates the patented and innovative controlled flocculation technology used in the pseudoplastic suspension formulation to reduce the oral anesthesia seen with crushed tablets, resulting in optimized drug delivery for riluzole. Riluzole is the only drug licensed for treating ALS, which is the most common form of motor neurone disease and a highly devastating neurodegenerative condition. The licensed indication is to extend life or the time to mechanical ventilation. Until recently, riluzole was only available as an oral tablet dosage form in the UK; however, an innovative oral liquid form, Teglutik(®) 5 mg/mL oral suspension, is now available. An oral liquid formulation provides an important therapeutic option for patients with ALS, >80% of who may become unable to swallow solid oral dosage forms due to disease-related dysphagia. Prior to the launch of riluzole oral suspension, the only way for many patients to continue to take riluzole as their disease progressed was through crushed tablets. A novel suspension formulation enables more accurate dosing and consistent ongoing administration of riluzole. There are clear and important advantages such as enhanced patient compliance compared with crushed tablets administered with food or via an enteral feeding tube and the potential for an improved therapeutic outcome and enhanced quality of life for ALS patients.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Feeding tube, Electromyography, Frontotemporal dementia, Dosage forms, Riluzole, Dosage form


Oral dosage forms are an integral part of modern health care and account for the majority of drug delivery systems. Traditionally the analysis of the dissolution behaviour of a dosage form is used as the key parameter to assess the performance of a drug product. However, understanding the mechanisms of disintegration is of critical importance to improve the quality of drug delivery systems. The disintegration performance is primarily impacted by the hydration and subsequent swelling of the powder compact. Here we compare liquid ingress and swelling data obtained using terahertz pulsed imaging (TPI) to a set of mathematical models. The interlink between hydration kinetics and swelling is described by a model based on Darcy’s law and a modified swelling model based on that of Schott. Our new model includes the evolution of porosity, pore size and permeability as a function of hydration time. Results obtained from two sets of samples prepared from pure micro-crystalline cellulose (MCC) indicate a clear difference in hydration and swelling for samples of different porosities and particle sizes, which are captured by the model. Coupling a novel imaging technique, such as TPI, and mathematical models allows better understanding of hydration and swelling and eventually tablet disintegration.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Mathematics, Physics, Model, Route of administration, Mathematical model, Dosage forms, Dosage form


In recent years, the US Food and Drug Administration has encouraged pharmaceutical companies to develop more innovative and efficient manufacturing methods with improved online monitoring and control. Mini-manufacturing of medicine is one such method enabling the creation of individualized product forms for each patient. This work presents dropwise additive manufacturing of pharmaceutical products (DAMPP), an automated, controlled mini-manufacturing method that deposits active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) directly onto edible substrates using drop-on-demand (DoD) inkjet printing technology. The use of DoD technology allows for precise control over the material properties, drug solid state form, drop size, and drop dynamics and can be beneficial in the creation of high-potency drug forms, combination drugs with multiple APIs or individualized medicine products tailored to a specific patient. In this work, DAMPP was used to create dosage forms from solvent-based formulations consisting of API, polymer, and solvent carrier. The forms were then analyzed to determine the reproducibility of creating an on-target dosage form, the morphology of the API of the final form and the dissolution behavior of the drug over time. DAMPP is found to be a viable alternative to traditional mass-manufacturing methods for solvent-based oral dosage forms. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association J Pharm Sci.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Epistemology, Drug, Pharmaceutical drug, Pharmacy, Active ingredient, Theory of Forms, Dosage form