In line NIR quantification of film thickness on pharmaceutical pellets during a fluid bed coating process

Min-Jeong Lee, Da-Young Seo, Hea-Eun Lee, In-Chun Wang, Woo-Sik Kim, Myung-Yung Jeong, Guang J Choi
International Journal of Pharmaceutics 2011 January 17, 403 (1-2): 66-72
Along with the risk-based approach, process analytical technology (PAT) has emerged as one of the key elements to fully implement QbD (quality-by-design). Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has been extensively applied as an in-line/on-line analytical tool in biomedical and chemical industries. In this study, the film thickness on pharmaceutical pellets was examined for quantification using in-line NIR spectroscopy during a fluid-bed coating process. A precise monitoring of coating thickness and its prediction with a suitable control strategy is crucial to the quality assurance of solid dosage forms including dissolution characteristics. Pellets of a test formulation were manufactured and coated in a fluid-bed by spraying a hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) coating solution. NIR spectra were acquired via a fiber-optic probe during the coating process, followed by multivariate analysis utilizing partial least squares (PLS) calibration models. The actual coating thickness of pellets was measured by two separate methods, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and laser diffraction particle size analysis (LD-PSA). Both characterization methods gave superb correlation results, and all determination coefficient (R(2)) values exceeded 0.995. In addition, a prediction coating experiment for 70min demonstrated that the end-point can be accurately designated via NIR in-line monitoring with appropriate calibration models. In conclusion, our approach combining in-line NIR monitoring with CLSM and LD-PSA can be applied as an effective PAT tool for fluid-bed pellet coating processes.

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