Orodispersible tablets (ODTs) emerged as dosage forms recommended for special groups of patients like pediatrics or geriatrics, due to their multiple advantages. Among their critical quality attributes, palatability determines patient acceptance, with high impact on treatment efficacy. The aim of this study was to develop an instrumental method to assess in vivo disintegration time and palatability of ODTs.
The formulation factors that can influence palatability were refined through an experimental design. The most important ones were taken forward and a calibration set was prepared for multivariate calibration model development. The ODTs were tested for their pharmaceutical properties, texture profile, followed by in vivo disintegration and palatability characteristics assessed by a panel of 16 healthy volunteers.
Acceptability was correlated to high palatability scores, sweet taste and long disintegration time and negatively correlated to with the bitter taste and a voluminous residue. Results revealed the importance of choosing the right type of filler or filler ratio for the oral disintegration time and associated mouth feel. The calibration set included formulations with different ratios of mannitol and microcrystalline cellulose as fillers. Regression models were built by correlating the texture profiles to the in vivo evaluation parameters. The model performance was good on both external prediction set formulations and on marketed ODTs, with good predictive capacity (Q2 > 0.7) for most of the subjective ODTs characteristics: in vivo disintegration time, residual volume and palatability.