Current regulations command to properly characterize pharmaceutically relevant solid systems. Chemometrics comprise a range of valuable tools, suitable to process large amounts of data and extract valuable information hidden in their structure. This review aims to detail the results of the fruitful association between analytical techniques and chemometrics methods, focusing on those which help to gain insight into the characteristics of drug polymorphism as an important aspect of the solid state of bulk drugs and drug products.
Hence, the combination of Raman, terahertz, mid- and near- infrared spectroscopies, as well as instrumental signals resulting from X-ray powder diffraction, 13C solid state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and thermal methods with quali-and quantitative chemometrics methodologies are examined.
The main issues reviewed, concerning pharmaceutical drug polymorphism, include the use of chemometrics-based approaches to perform polymorph classification and assignment of polymorphic identity, as well as the determination of given polymorphs in simple mixtures and complex systems. Aspects such as the solvation/desolvation of solids, phase transformation, crystallinity and the recrystallization from the amorphous state are also discussed. A brief perspective of the field for the next future is provided, based on the developments of the last decade and the current state of the art of analytical instrumentation and chemometrics methodologies.