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J Pharm Sci. 2010 Apr;99(4):2080-9. doi: 10.1002/jps.21951.

Limitations of amorphous content quantification by isothermal calorimetry using saturated salt solutions to control relative humidity: alternative methods.

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Department of industrial pharmacy, formulation and pharmaceutical engineering, INSERM U877 school of pharmacy, Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble, France.


Despite the high sensitivity of isothermal calorimetry (IC), reported measurements of amorphous content by this technique show significant variability even for the same compound. An investigation into the reasons behind such variability is presented using amorphous lactose and salbutamol sulfate as model compounds. An analysis was carried out on the heat evolved as a result of the exchange of water vapor between the solid sample during crystallization and the saline solution reservoir. The use of saturated salt solutions as means of control of the vapor pressure of water within sealed ampoules bears inherent limitations that lead in turn to the variability associated with the IC technique. We present an alternative IC method, based on an open cell configuration that effectively addresses the limitations encountered with the sealed ampoule system. The proposed approach yields an integral whose value is proportional to the amorphous content in the sample, thus enabling reliable and consistent quantifications.

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