Study of the use of axial viewed inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry with ultrasonic nebulization for the determination of select elemental impurities in oral drug products

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In efforts to control the potential presence of heavy metals in pharmaceuticals, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) have put forth new requirements and guidelines for their control. The new requirements and guidelines establish specific daily exposures (PDE) for 24 heavy metals/elemental impurities (EI) based upon their toxicological properties. USP General Chapter 〈233〉 provides a general reference procedure for preparing pharmaceutical samples for analysis employing microwave assisted digestion (MWAD). It also provides two Compendial Procedures, Procedure 1 employing ICP-AES, and Procedure 2 employing ICP-MS. Given the extremely low detection limits afforded by ICP-MS, much work has been done in developing and evaluating analytical methods to support the analysis of elemental impurities in finished pharmaceutical products, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and excipients by this analytical technique. In this study, we have evaluated the use of axial ICP-AES. This employs ultrasonic nebulization (UN) for the determination of Class 1 and 2 EI, instead of traditional pneumatic nebulization. The study also employed closed vessel MWAD to prepare samples for analysis. Limits of quantitation were element specific and significantly lower than the PDEs for oral drugs. Spike recoveries for the elements studied ranged between 89.3% and 109.25%, except for Os, which was subject to OsO4 formation during MWAD. The use of axial ICP-AES UN provides an alternative to ICP-MS in the analysis of EI requiring low detection limits.

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