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Int J Pharm. 2005 May 13;295(1-2):15-27.

Compaction, compression and drug release properties of diclofenac sodium and ibuprofen pellets comprising xanthan gum as a sustained release agent.

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Centro de Estudos Farmacêuticos, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal.


Compaction and compression of xanthan gum pellets were evaluated and drug release from tablets made of pellets was characterised. Two types of pellets were prepared by extrusion-spheronisation. Formulations included xanthan gum, at 16% (w/w), diclofenac sodium or ibuprofen, at 10% (w/w), among other excipients. An amount of 500 mg of pellets fraction 1000-1400 microm were compacted in a single punch press at maximum punch pressure of 125 MPa using flat-faced punches (diameter of 1.00 cm). Physical properties of pellets and tablets were analysed. Laser profilometry analysis and scanning electron microscopy of the upper surface and the surface of fracture of tablets revealed that particles remained as coherent individual units after compression process. Pellets were flatted in the same direction of the applied stress evidencing a lost of the original curvature of the spherical unit. Pellets showed close compressibility degrees (49.9% for pellets comprising diclofenac sodium and 48.5% for pellets comprising ibuprofen). Xanthan gum pellets comprising diclofenac sodium experienced a reduction of 65.5% of their original sphericity while those comprising ibuprofen lost 49.6% of the original porosity. Permanent deformation and densification were the relevant mechanisms of compression. Fragmentation was regarded as non-existent. The release of the model drug from both type of tablets revealed different behaviours. Tablets made of pellets comprising ibuprofen released the model drug in a bimodal fashion and the release behaviour was characterised as Case II transport mechanism (release exponent of 0.93). On the other hand, the release behaviour of diclofenac sodium from tablets made of pellets was anomalous (release exponent of 0.70). For the latter case, drug diffusion and erosion were competing mechanisms of drug release.

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