Moisture-induced phase separation and recrystallization in amorphous solid dispersions
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) are often dissolved in polymeric matrices to control the gastrointestinal dissolution and to stabilize the amorphous state of the API. During the pharmaceutical development of new formulations, stability studies via storage at certain temperature and relative humidity (RH) have to be carried out to verify the long-term thermodynamic stability of these formulations against unwanted recrystallization and moisture-induced amorphous–amorphous phase separation (MIAPS). This study focuses on predicting the MIAPS of API/polymer formulations at elevated RH. In a first step, the phase behavior of water-free formulations of ibuprofen (IBU) and felodipine (FEL) combined with the polymers poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP), poly(vinyl acetate) (PVAC) and poly (vinyl pyrrolidone-co-vinyl acetate) (PVPVA64) was determined experimentally by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The phase behavior of these water-free formulations was modeled using the Perturbed-Chain Statistical Associating Fluid Theory (PC-SAFT). Based on this, the API solubility and MIAPS in the above-mentioned formulations at humid conditions was predicted in perfect agreement with the results of two-year lasting stability studies at 25 °C/0% RH and 40 °C/75% RH. MIAPS was predicted and also experimentally found for the FEL/PVP, FEL/PVPVA64 and IBU/PVP formulations, whereas MIAPS was neither predicted nor measured for the IBU/PVPVA64 system and PVAC-containing formulations. It was thus shown that the results of time-consuming long-term stability tests can be correctly predicted via thermodynamic modeling with PC-SAFT.