Raman spectroscopy for the analytical quality control of low-dose break-scored tablets

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Abstract

Quality control of solid dosage forms involves the analysis of end products according to well-defined criteria, including the assessment of the uniformity of dosage units (UDU). However, in the case of break-scored tablets, given that tablet splitting is widespread as a means to adjust doses, the uniform distribution of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in all the possible fractions of the tablet must be assessed. A general procedure to accomplish with both issues, using Raman spectroscopy, is presented. It is based on the acquisition of a collection of spectra in different regions of the tablet, that later can be selected to determine the amount of API in the potential fractions that can result after splitting. The procedure has been applied to two commercial products, Sintrom 1 and Sintrom 4, with API (acenocoumarol) mass proportion of 2% and 0.7% respectively. Partial Least Squares (PLS) calibration models were constructed for the quantification of acenocoumarol in whole tablets using HPLC as a reference analytical method. Once validated, the calibration models were used to determine the API content in the different potential fragments of the scored Sintrom 4 tablets. Fragment mass measurements were also performed to estimate the range of masses of the halves and quarters that could result after tablet splitting. The results show that Raman spectroscopy can be an alternative analytical procedure to assess the uniformity of content, both in whole tablets as in its potential fragments, and that Sintrom 4 tablets can be perfectly split in halves, but some cautions have to be taken when considering the fragmentation in quarters. A practical alternative to the use of UDU test for the assessment of tablet fragments is proposed.

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