Pharmaceutical Nanocomposites Structure–Mobility–Functionality Relationships in the Amorphous State
Abstract: Amorphous materials are found in pharmaceutical formulations both as excipients and active ingredients. Indeed, these formulations are becoming an essential strategy for incorporating drugs into well-performing solid dosage forms. However, there is an unmet need of better understanding of the microstructure and component interactions in amorphous formulations to be able to design materials with improved functionalities. The aim of this thesis is to give deepened knowledge about structure-mobility-functionality relationships in amorphous for-mulations by studying composites produced from sugars and filler particles. The structure, the mobility, and physical stability of the composite materials were studied using calorimetry, X-ray diffraction, microscopy, spectroscopy, and molecular dynamics simulations. Further, the moisture sorption of the composites was determined with dynamic vapor sorption. The compression mechanics of the composites was evaluated with compression analysis.It was demonstrated that fillers change the overall properties of the amorphous material. Specifically, the physical stability of the composite was by far improved compared to the amorphous sugar alone. This effect was pronounced for formulations with 60 wt% filler content or more. Amorphous lactose that normally recrystallizes within a few minutes upon humidity exposure, could withstand recrystallization for several months at 60% RH in composites with 80 wt% cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) or sodium montmorillonite (Na-MMT). The increased physical stability of the amorphous sugars was related to intra-particle confinement in extra-particle voids formed by the fillers and to immobilization of the amorphous phase at the surface of the fillers. Also, the composite formation led to increased particle hardness for the lactose/CNC and the lactose/Na-MMT nanocomposites. The largest effect on particle hardness was seen with 40-60 wt% nanofiller and could be related to skeleton formation of the nanofillers within the composite particles. The hygroscopicity for the lactose/Na-MMT nanocomposites decreased as much as 47% compared to ideal simple mixtures of the neat components. The nanofillers did not influence the water sorption capacity in the amorphous domains; however, lactose (intercalated into Na-MMT) interacted with the sodium ions in the interlayer space which led to the lowered hygroscopicity of this phase.The thesis advanced the knowledge of the microstructure of amorphous pharmaceutical com-posites and its relationship with pharmaceutical functionalities. It also presented new approaches for stabilizing the amorphous state by using fillers. The concept illustrated here might be used to understand similar phenomena of stabilization of amorphous formulations.
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