Crystal coating via spray drying to improve powder tabletability

V Vanhoorne, E Peeters, B Van Snick, J P Remon, C Vervaet
European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 2014, 88 (3): 939-44
A continuous crystal coating method was developed to improve both flowability and tabletability of powders. The method includes the introduction of solid, dry particles into an atomized spray during spray drying in order to coat and agglomerate individual particles. Paracetamol was used as a model drug as it exhibits poor flowability and high capping tendency upon compaction. The particle size enlargement and flowability were evaluated by the mean median particle size and flow index of the resulting powders. The crystal coating coprocessing method was successful for the production of powders containing 75% paracetamol with excellent tableting properties. However, the extent of agglomeration achieved during coprocessing was limited. Tablets compressed on a rotary tablet press in manual mode showed excellent compression properties without capping tendency. A formulation with 75% paracetamol, 5% PVP and 20% amorphous lactose yielded a tensile strength of 1.9 MPa at a compression pressure of 288 MPa. The friability of tablets compressed at 188 MPa was only 0.6%. The excellent tabletability of this formulation was attributed to the coating of paracetamol crystals with amorphous lactose and PVP through coprocessing and the presence of brittle and plastic components in the formulation. The coprocessing method was also successfully applied for the production of directly compressible lactose showing improved tensile strength and friability in comparison to a spray dried direct compression lactose grade.

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