Raman spectroscopy as a process analytical technology tool for the understanding and the quantitative in-line monitoring of the homogenization process of a pharmaceutical suspension

T R M De Beer, W R G Baeyens, J Ouyang, C Vervaet, J P Remon
Analyst 2006, 131 (10): 1137-44
The aim of this study was to propose a Process Analytical Technology (PAT) strategy for the quantitative in-line monitoring of an aqueous pharmaceutical suspension using Raman spectroscopy. A screening design was used to study the significance of process variables (mixing speed and height of the stirrer in the reactor) and of formulation variables (concentration of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) ibuprofen and the viscosity enhancer (xanthan gum)) on the time required to homogenize an aqueous pharmaceutical model suspension as response variable. Ibuprofen concentration (10% and 15% (w/v)) and the height of stirrer (position 1 and 2) were discrete variables, whereas the viscosity enhancer (concentration range: 1-2 g L-1) and the mixing speed (700-1000 rpm) were continuous variables. Next, a multilevel full factorial design was applied to study the effect of the remaining significant variables upon the homogenization process and to establish the optimum conditions for the process. Interactions between these variables were investigated as well. During each design experiment, the conformity index (CI) method was used to monitor homogeneity of the suspension mixing system in real-time using Raman spectroscopy in combination with a fibre optical immersion probe. Finally, a principal component regression (PCR) model was developed and evaluated to perform quantitative real-time and in-line measurements of the API during the mixing process. The experimental design results showed that the suspension homogenization process is an irregular process, for which it is impossible to model the studied variables upon the measured response variable. However, applying the PCR model it is possible to predict in-line and real-time the concentration of the API in a suspension during a mixing process. In this study, it is shown that Raman spectroscopy is a suitable PAT tool for the control of the homogenization process of an aqueous suspension. Raman spectroscopy not only allowed real-time monitoring of the homogeneity of the suspension, but also helped (in combination with experimental design) to understand the process. Further, the technique allowed real-time and in-line quantification of the API during the mixing process.

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