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Pharm Res. 2003 Mar;20(3):485-93.

Enhanced aqueous dissolution of a poorly water soluble drug by novel particle engineering technology: spray-freezing into liquid with atmospheric freeze-drying.

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College of Pharmacy, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.



The purpose of this work was to investigate spray-freezing into liquid (SFL) and atmospheric freeze-drying (ATMFD) as industrial processes for producing micronized SFL powders with enhanced aqueous dissolution. Micronized SFL powders dried by ATMFD were compared with vacuum freeze-dried SFL powders.


Danazol was formulated with polyvinyl alcohol (MW 22,000), polyvinylpyrrolidone K-15, and poloxamer 407 to produce micronized SFL powders that were freeze-dried under vacuum or dried by ATMFD. The powders were characterized using Karl-Fischer titration, gas chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, surface area, and dissolution testing (SLS 0.75%/Tris 1.21% buffer media).


Micronized SFL powders containing amorphous drug were successfully dried using the ATMFD process. Micronized SFL powders contained less than 5% w/w and 50 ppm of residual water and organic solvent, respectively, which were similar to those contents detected in a co-ground physical mixture of similar composition. Micronized SFL powders dried by ATMFD had lower surface areas than powders produced by vacuum freeze-drying (5.7 vs. 8.9 m2/g) but significantly greater surface areas than the micronized bulk drug (0.5 m2/g) and co-ground physical mixture (1.9 m2/g). Rapid wetting and dissolution occurred when the SFL powders were introduced into the dissolution media. By 5 min, 100% dissolution of danazol from the ATMFD-micronized SFL powder had occurred, which was similar to the dissolution profile of the vacuum freeze-dried SFL powder.


Vacuum freeze-drying is not a preferred technique in the pharmaceutical industry because of scalability and high-cost concerns. The ATMFD process enables commercialization of the SFL particle-engineering technology as a micronization method to enhance dissolution of hydrophobic drugs.

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