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DISSOLUTION AND MEMBRANE MASS TRANSPORT OF SUPERSATURATING DRUG DELIVERY SYSTEMS
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Supersaturating drug delivery systems are an attractive solubility enabling formulation strategy for poorly soluble drugs due to their potential to significantly enhance solubility and hence, bioavailability. Compendial dissolution testing is commonly used a surrogate for assessing the bioavailability of enabling formulations. However, it increasingly fails to accurately predict in vivo performance due its closed-compartment characteristics and the lack of absorptive sink conditions. In vivo, drug is continually removed due to absorption across the gastrointestinal membrane, which impacts the luminal concentration profile, which in turn affects the dissolution kinetics of any undissolved material, as well as crystallization kinetics from supersaturated solutions. Thus, it is critical to develop an improved methodology that better mimics in vivo conditions. An enhanced approach integrates dissolution and absorption measurements. However, currently-used two-compartment absorptive apparatuses, employing a flat-sheet membrane are limited, in particular by the small membrane surface area that restricts the mass transfer, resulting in unrealistic experimental timeframes. This greatly impacts the suitability of such systems as a formulation development tool. The goal of this research is two-fold. First, to develop and test a high surface area, flow-through, absorptive dissolution testing apparatus, designed to provide in vivo relevant information about formulation performance in biologically relevant time frames. Second, to use this apparatus to obtain mechanistic insight into physical phenomenon occurring during formulation dissolution. Herein, the design and construction of a coupled dissolution-absorption apparatus using a hollow fiber membrane module to simulate the absorption process is described. The hollow fiber membrane offers a large membrane surface area, improving the mass transfer rates significantly. Following the development of a robust apparatus, its application as a formulation development tool was evaluated in subsequent studies. The dissolution-absorption studies were carried out for supersaturated solutions generated via anti-solvent addition, pH-shift and by dissolution of amorphous formulations. The research demonstrates the potential of the apparatus to capture subtle differences between formulations, providing insight into the role of physical processes such as supersaturation, crystallization kinetics and liquid-liquid phase separation on the absorption kinetics. The study also explores dissolution-absorption performance of amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs) and the influence of resultant solution phase behavior on the absorption profile. Residual crystalline content in ASDs is a great concern from a physical stability and dissolution performance perspective as it can promote secondary nucleation or seed crystal growth. Therefore, the risk of drug crystallization during dissolution of ASDs containing some residual crystals was assessed using absorptive dissolution measurements and compared to outcomes observed using closed-compartment dissolution testing. Mesoporous silica-based formulations are another type of amorphous formulations that are gaining increased interest due to higher physical stability and rapid release of the amorphous drug. However, their application may be limited by incomplete drug release resulting from the adsorption tendency of the drug onto the silica surface. Thus, the performance of mesoporous silica-based formulations was also evaluated in the absorptive dissolution testing apparatus to determine the impact of physiological conditions such as gastrointestinal pH and simultaneous membrane absorption on the adsorption kinetics during formulation dissolution. Overall, the aim of this research was to demonstrate the potential of the novel in vitro methodology and highlight the significance of a dynamic absorptive dissolution environment to enable better assessment of complex enabling formulations. In vivo, there are multiple physical processes occurring in the gastrointestinal lumen and the kinetics of these processes strongly depend on the absorption kinetics and vice-a-versa. Thus, using this novel tool, the interplay between solution phase behavior and the likely impacts on bioavailability of supersaturating drug delivery systems can be better elucidated. This approach and apparatus is anticipated to be of great utility to the pharmaceutical industry to make informed decisions with respect to formulation optimization.