Production & stability of stavudine solid lipid nanoparticles—From lab to industrial scale

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The production of stavudine-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN) for intravenous injection was scaled up from lab scale (40 g) to medium scale (10 kg) and large scale (20/60 kg). The SLN were produced by high pressure homogenization of stavudine lipid melt dispersed in hot surfactant solution (pre-emulsion) applying 800 bar pressure. Employed were piston-gap homogenizers with increasing capacity (APV Gaulin products LAB 40, LAB 60 and Gaulin 5.5, and Avestin C50), using them in the continuous (circulation) and discontinuous mode. Size analysis was performed by photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS), laser diffractometry and light microscopy. At lab scale a PCS size of 53 nm was obtained. At the same pressure, all homogenizers on larger scale yielded a size in the range of the lab scale product (35–70 nm). Differences were found in the size as a function of circulation time (size increase or size reduction with time) and the number of cycles required (1 or 5) for the optimal product. The stavudine SLN formulation (2% lipid content, high surfactant to lipid ratio) showed a different behavior to conventional higher concentrated SLN suspensions or nanoemulsions (10% or 20% lipid/oil, low surfactant to lipid ratio). In general, smallest sizes were obtained in the discontinuous mode after just one homogenization cycle. The continuous production mode was only efficient with a 10 kg batch size using the LAB 60. In addition, the long-term stability over 1 year was monitored at refrigeration, room temperature and at 40 °C to assess a potential effect of the homogenizer type on stability. All batches at room temperature and below were stable, only a negligible increase in size was observed.

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