Raman spectroscopy and capillary zone electrophoresis for the analysis of degradation processes in commercial effervescent tablets containing acetylsalicylic acid and ascorbic acid

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In order to ensure the stability of pharmaceutical products appropriate manufacturing and storage conditions are required. In general, the degradation of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and subsequent formation of degradation products affect the pharmaceutical quality. Thus, a fast and effective detection and characterization of these substances is mandatory. Here, the applicability of Raman spectroscopy and CZE for the characterization of the degradation of effervescent tablets containing acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and ascorbic acid (AA) was evaluated. Therefore, a degradation study was performed analyzing tablets from two different manufacturers at varying conditions (relative humidity (RH) 33%, 52% and 75% at 30 °C). Raman spectroscopy combined with principal component analysis could be successfully applied for the fast and easy discrimination of non-degraded and degraded effervescent tablets after a storage period of approximately 24 h (RH 52%). Nevertheless, a clear identification or quantification of APIs and degradation products within the analyzed tablets was not possible, i.a. due to missing reference materials. CZE-UV enabled the quantification of the APIs (ASA, AA) and related degradation products (salicylic acid (SA); semi-quantitative also mono- and diacetylated AA) within the complex tablet mixtures. The higher the RH, the faster the degradation of ASA and AA as well as the formation of the degradation products. Mono- and diacetylated AA are major primary degradation products of AA for the applied effervescent tablets. A significant degradation of the APIs was detected earlier by CZE (6–12 h, RH 52%) than by Raman spectroscopy. Summarized, Raman spectroscopy is well-suited as quick test to detect degradation of these tablets and CZE can be utilized for further detailed characterization and quantification of specific APIs and related degradation products.

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