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Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2017;65(5):432-441. doi: 10.1248/cpb.c16-00745.

Evaluation of Sucrose Fatty Acid Esters as Lubricants in Tablet Manufacturing.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, School of Clinical Pharmacy, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Matsuyama University.


Lubricants are essential additives in tablet formulations. Magnesium stearate (Mg-St) is the most commonly used lubricant in tableting. Here, we used sucrose fatty acid ester (SE) as an additive to manufacture tablets by direct compression. We evaluated the effects of hydrophile-lipophile balance (HLB) and the amount of SE on the flowability of a pharmaceutical powder using angle of repose and practical angle of internal friction measurements. In addition, we investigated the effects of SE on tablet properties. When SEs with an HLB ≥3 were added, the angle of repose was approximately the same as that of a pharmaceutical powder containing Mg-St, with no major differences in flowability. However, the practical angle of internal friction became closer to pharmaceutical powder containing Mg-St as HLB decreased. As HLB increased, the practical angle of internal friction approached the value of additive-free pharmaceutical powder. Tablets containing 2.0% Mg-St had a mean hardness of 40 N and disintegrated in approximately 6 min, whereas tablets containing 2.0% SE (low HLB) had a mean hardness of approximately ≥80 N and disintegrated within 3 min. The results indicate that SEs can be used as lubricants in tablet production by direct compression and to reduce problems associated with the use of Mg-St. In particular, we suggest that SEs with low HLB values can be used as excipients to achieve high tablet hardness and short disintegration time.


hydrophile–lipophile balance; internal friction angle; lubricant; repose angle; sucrose fatty acid ester; tablet property

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