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J Pharm Sci. 2010 Mar;99(3):1254-64. doi: 10.1002/jps.21903.

Solubility advantage of amorphous pharmaceuticals: I. A thermodynamic analysis.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA.


In recent years there has been growing interest in advancing amorphous pharmaceuticals as an approach for achieving adequate solubility. Due to difficulties in the experimental measurement of solubility, a reliable estimate of the solubility enhancement ratio of an amorphous form of a drug relative to its crystalline counterpart would be highly useful. We have developed a rigorous thermodynamic approach to estimate enhancement in solubility that can be achieved by conversion of a crystalline form to the amorphous form. We rigorously treat the three factors that contribute to differences in solubility between amorphous and crystalline forms. First, we calculate the free energy difference between amorphous and crystalline forms from thermal properties measured by modulated differential scanning calorimetry (MDSC). Secondly, since an amorphous solute can absorb significant amounts of water, which reduces its activity and solubility, a correction is made using water sorption isotherm data and the Gibbs-Duhem equation. Next, a correction is made for differences in the degree of ionization due to differences in solubilities of the two forms. Utilizing this approach the theoretically estimated solubility enhancement ratio of 7.0 for indomethacin (amorphous/gamma-crystal) was found to be in close agreement with the experimentally determined ratio of 4.9.

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