Development of enteric-coated fixed dose combinations of amorphous solid dispersions of ezetimibe and lovastatin: Investigation of formulation and process parameters

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Graphical abstractEnteric-coated fixed-dose combinations of ezetimibe and lovastatin were prepared by fluid bed coating aiming to avoid the acidic conversion of lovastatin to its hydroxyacid derivative. In a two-step process, sucrose beads were layered with a glass solution of ezetimibe, lovastatin and Soluplus®, top-coated with an enteric layer. The impact of different bead size, enteric polymers (Eudragit L100® and Eudragit L100-55®) and coating time was investigated. Samples were evaluated by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, laser diffraction and in vitro studies in 0.1 M HCl and phosphate buffer pH 6.8. Results showed that smaller beads tend to agglomerate and release was jeopardized in acidic conditions, most likely due to irregular coating layer. Eudragit L100-55® required longer processing, but thinner coating layers provided lower drug release. Both polymers showed low drug release in acidic environment and fast release at pH 6.8. The off-line measurement of the coating thickness determined the ideal coating time as 15 and 30 min for Eudragit L100-55® and Eudragit L100®-based samples, respectively. Both compounds were molecularly dispersed in Soluplus®, and Eudragit L100® formulations showed concave pores on the surface, presenting higher drug release in acidic conditions. Stability studies after 6 months showed unaltered physical properties and drug release.

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