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Adv Colloid Interface Sci. 2015 Sep;223:40-54. doi: 10.1016/j.cis.2015.05.003. Epub 2015 May 22.

Advantages and challenges of the spray-drying technology for the production of pure drug particles and drug-loaded polymeric carriers.

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Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Nanomaterials Science, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Technion City, Haifa, Israel. Electronic address:
Institute of Nanobiotechnology, National Science Research Council (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Basic and Applied Sciences, National University of the Chaco Austral, Pcia. R. Sáenz Peña, Chaco, Argentina.


Spray-drying is a rapid, continuous, cost-effective, reproducible and scalable process for the production of dry powders from a fluid material by atomization through an atomizer into a hot drying gas medium, usually air. Often spray-drying is considered only a dehydration process, though it also can be used for the encapsulation of hydrophilic and hydrophobic active compounds within different carriers without substantial thermal degradation, even of heat-sensitive substances due to fast drying (seconds or milliseconds) and relatively short exposure time to heat. The solid particles obtained present relatively narrow size distribution at the submicron-to-micron scale. Generally, the yield% of spray-drying at laboratory scale with conventional spray-dryers is not optimal (20-70%) due to the loss of product in the walls of the drying chamber and the low capacity of the cyclone to separate fine particles (<2 μm). Aiming to overcome this crucial drawback in early development stages, new devices that enable the production of submicron particles with high yield, even for small sample amounts, have been introduced into the market. This review describes the most outstanding advantages and challenges of the spray-drying method for the production of pure drug particles and drug-loaded polymeric particles and discusses the potential of this technique and the more advanced equipment to pave the way toward reproducible and scalable processes that are critical to the bench-to-bedside translation of innovative pharmaceutical products.


Drug-encapsulation; Nanocomposite microparticles; Polymeric microparticles; Polymeric nanoparticles; Pure drug particles; Spray-drying

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