Particle contamination of parenteralia and in-line filtration of proteinaceous drugs

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Protein drug products play an important role in the treatment of severe diseases. However, due to the instability of these complex molecules, protein aggregates can form which can compromise drug safety and efficacy including immunogenic reactions. In-line filtration during the administration of these drugs can serve as a final safeguarding step to protect patients from risks associated with proteinaceous particles. A unique analysis of more than 300 marketed protein drug products revealed that already around 16% of all these products are filtered during preparation or administration. Further, the research revealed that no standardized filtration practice exists. Broad variances regarding filter membrane or pore size are found and sometimes no specifications are mentioned at all. The benefits as well as possible negative impacts of filtration like filter shedding, extractables or drug adsorption are critically assessed. Several proposals to improve the current filtration practice and to expand the number of in-line filtered protein drug products are made. The suggestions include the demand for the specific usage of one filter membrane type, the establishment of a filtration routine for unfiltered protein drugs and a statistical analysis between filtered and non-filtered products with similar formulations to identify possible differences in the immunogenicity rate.

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