Continuous manufacturing and analytical characterization of fixed-dose, multilayer orodispersible films

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Various drug therapies require more than one active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for an effective treatment. There are many advantages, e.g. to improve the compliance or pharmacodynamic response in comparison to a monotherapy or to increase the therapy safety. Until now, there are only a few products available for the paediatric population due to the lack of age appropriate dosage forms or studies proving the efficacy and safety of these products. This study aims to develop orodispersible films (ODFs) in a continuous solvent casting process as child appropriate dosage form containing both enalapril maleate (EM) and hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) separated in different film layers. Furthermore, they should be characterised and the API migration analysed by confocal Raman microscopy (CRM).

ODFs were successfully produced in a continuous manufacturing process in form of double- and triple-layer formulations based on hydroxypropylcellulose (HPC) or a combination of HPC and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). CRM revealed that both APIs migrate within the film layers shortly after manufacturing. PVA inhibits the migration inside the double-layer film, but is not able to prevent the API migration as an interlayer inside a triple-layer ODF. With increasing film layers, the content of residual solvents and the disintegration time increases (mono-layer films: <10 s, triple-layer films: 37 s). In conclusion, it was feasible to produce fixed-dose combinations in therapeutic doses up to 9 mg HCT and 3.5 mg EM for the double-layer film with adequate mechanical properties, which enable coiling up onto jumbo rolls directly after production. The best separation of the two APIs was achieved by casting a double-layer ODF consisting of different film forming polymers, which can be beneficial when processing two incompatible APIs.

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