Drug–Excipient Interactions in the Solid State: The Role of Different Stress Factors

Corinna Gressl, Michael Brunsteiner, Adrian Davis, Margaret Landis, Klimentina Pencheva, Garry Scrivens, Gregory W. Sluggett, Geoffrey P.F. Wood, Heidrun Gruber-Wölfler, Johannes Khinast, Amrit Paudel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding properties and mechanisms that govern drug degradation in the solid state is of high importance to ensure drug stability and safety of solid dosage forms. In this study, we attempt to understand drug−excipient interactions in the solid state using both theoretical and experimental approaches. The model active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) under study are carvedilol (CAR) and codeine phosphate (COP), which are known to undergo esterification with citric acid (CA) in the solid state. Starting from the crystal structures of two different polymorphs of each compound, we calculated the exposure and accessibility of reactive hydroxyl groups for a number of relevant crystal surfaces, as well as descriptors that could be associated with surface stabilities using molecular simulations. Accelerated degradation experiments at elevated temperature and controlled humidity were conducted to assess the propensity of different solid forms of the model APIs to undergo chemical reactions with anhydrous CA or CA monohydrate. In addition, for CAR, we studied the solid state degradation at varying humidity levels and also under mechano-activation. Regarding the relative degradation propensities, we found that variations in the exposure and accessibility of molecules on the crystal surface play a minor role compared to the impact of molecular mobility due to different levels of moisture. We further studied drug−excipient interactions under mechano-activation (comilling of API and CA) and found that the reaction proceeded even faster than in physical powder mixtures kept at accelerated storage conditions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4560-4571
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2017

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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