Acceleratedin vitrorelease testing method for naltrexone loaded PLGA microspheres

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The objective of the present study was to develop a discriminatory and reproducible accelerated release testing method for naltrexone loaded parenteral polymeric microspheres. The commercially available naltrexone microsphere product (Vivitrol®) was used as the testing formulation in the in vitro release method development, and both sample-and-separate and USP apparatus 4 methods were investigated. Following an in vitro drug stability study, frequent media replacement and addition of anti-oxidant in the release medium were used to prevent degradation of naltrexone during release testing at “real-time” (37 °C) and “accelerated” (45 °C), respectively. The USP apparatus 4 method was more reproducible than the sample-and-separate method. In addition, the accelerated release profile obtained using USP apparatus 4 had a shortened release duration (within seven days), and good correlation with the “real-time” release profile. Lastly, the discriminatory ability of the developed accelerated release method was assessed using compositionally equivalent naltrexone microspheres with different release characteristics. The developed accelerated USP apparatus 4 release method was able to detect differences in the release characteristics of the prepared naltrexone microspheres. Moreover, a linear correlation was observed between the “real-time” and accelerated release profiles of all the formulations investigated, suggesting that the release mechanism(s) may be similar under both conditions. These results indicate that the developed accelerated USP apparatus 4 method has the potential to be an appropriate fast quality control tool for long-acting naltrexone PLGA microspheres.

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