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J Pharm Biomed Anal. 1998 Jan;16(5):733-40.

The determination of benzalkonium chloride in eye-drops by difference spectrophotometry.

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  • 1Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Lajos Kossuth University, Debrecen, Hungary.


A direct, extraction-free spectrophotometric method was developed for the determination of benzalkonium chloride (BAC) in various eye-drops. The procedure is based on ion-pair formation between BAC and 2',4',5',7'-tetrabromofluorescein (eosin-Y) which decreases the absorbance and induces a bathochromic shift of the maximum in the eosin-Y spectrum. The effects of pH, excess of reagent and ionic strength on the ion-pair formation have been studied in detail. At pH 4.40 and 9.62, the working curve is linear in the 1.98 x 10(-6) to 2.40 x 10(-5) M (0.7-8.5 microg cm[-3]) concentration range; however, the sensitivity drops to about one third in the basic solution. At pH 4.40, the analytical signal is stable for more than 60 min, while at pH 9.62 the signal changes in time and reaches the maximum value 3 min after mixing the reagent and the sample. When the active substance is beta-5-isopropyl-2'deoxyuridine and the sample contains typical additives, the reproducibility of the analytical signal at pH 4.40 is R.S.D. = 2.36% (n = 81). In the case of such samples, the linearity of the method is somewhat dependent on the composition, but generally acceptable at the 50-150% concentration levels. Eye-drops containing tobramycin, an aminoglycoside-type antibiotic, as the active substance were analyzed at pH 9.62. This was necessary to avoid strong interference from the analyte in acidic solution. In this case the linearity of the method is limited to a narrower concentration range; however, the recovery is still acceptable at the 100% level.

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