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Can J Hosp Pharm. 2010 Jan;63(1):25-30.

Stability of diclofenac sodium oral suspensions packaged in amber polyvinyl chloride bottles.

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  • 1, MSc(Chem), BSC(Pharm), is Product Development Pharmacist with the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The Ottawa Hospital (Civic Campus), Ottawa, Ontario.



Prescribing of diclofenac for children usually involves a dose different from commercially available strengths. This drug is available only as tablets, which can be divided only so many times before the dose obtained becomes inaccurate. In addition, children may have difficulty swallowing tablets. For these reasons, a compounding formula for a liquid dosage form is essential to ensure effective delivery of the drug to pediatric patients.


To develop a compounding formula for diclofenac sodium and to determine the extended physical and chemical stability of this compound when stored in amber polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prescription bottles under refrigeration and at room temperature.


A suspension of diclofenac sodium (10 mg/mL) was prepared from commercially available diclofenac sodium tablets, with Ora-Blend as the suspending and flavouring agent. The suspension was packaged in 60-mL amber PVC prescription bottles and stored at either room temperature (23°C) or under refrigeration (5°C). Samples were collected on days 0, 7, 14, 21, 27, 56, and 93. Chemical stability was determined using a validated stability-indicating high-performance liquid chromatography method. At each sampling time, the suspensions were checked for changes in appearance (i.e., colour, layering, caking, ease of resuspension), odour, and pH.


The diclofenac sodium suspensions were very stable, retaining at least 99.5% of the original concentration for up to 93 days, regardless of storage temperature. There were no apparent changes in the physical appearance of the suspensions, nor were there any substantial changes in odour or pH.


Suspensions of diclofenac sodium (10 mg/mL) were quantitatively stable but difficult to prepare because of the enteric coating of the tablets. Therefore, it is recommended that diclofenac powder be used for the preparation of suspensions. For pediatric use, palatability is a consideration, and a masking agent should be added before administration. An expiry date of up to 93 days is suggested.

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