Hierarchical Mass Transfer Analysis of Drug Particle Dissolution, Highlighting the Hydrodynamics, pH, Particle Size, and Buffer Effects for the Dissolution of Ionizable and Nonionizable Drugs in a Compendial Dissolution Vessel.Mol Pharm. 2020 10 05; 17(10):3870-3884.MP
Dissolution is a crucial process for the oral delivery of drug products. Before being absorbed through epithelial cell membranes to reach the systemic circulation, drugs must first dissolve in the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In vivo and in vitro dissolutions are complex because of their dependency upon the drug physicochemical properties, drug product, and GI physiological properties. However, an understanding of this process is critical for the development of robust drug products. To enhance our understanding of in vivo and in vitro dissolutions, a hierarchical mass transfer (HMT) model was developed that considers the drug properties, GI fluid properties, and fluid hydrodynamics. The key drug properties include intrinsic solubility, acid/base character, pKa, particle size, and particle polydispersity. The GI fluid properties include bulk pH, buffer species concentration, fluid shear rate, and fluid convection. To corroborate the model, in vitro dissolution experiments were conducted in the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) 2 dissolution apparatus. A weakly acidic (ibuprofen), a weakly basic (haloperidol), and a nonionizable (felodipine) drug were used to study the effects of the acid/base character, pKa, and intrinsic solubility on dissolution. 900 mL of 5 mM bicarbonate and phosphate buffers at pH 6.5 and 37 °C was used to study the impact of the buffer species on drug dissolution. To investigate the impacts of fluid shear rate and convection, the apparatus was operated at different impeller rotational speeds. Moreover, presieved ibuprofen particles with different average diameters were used to investigate the effect of particle size on drug dissolution. In vitro experiments demonstrate that the dissolution rates of both the ionizable compounds used in this study were slower in bicarbonate buffer than in phosphate buffer, with the same buffer concentration, because of the lower interfacial buffer capacity, a unique behavior of bicarbonate buffer. Therefore, using surrogates (i.e., 50 mM phosphate) for bicarbonate buffer for biorelevant in vitro dissolution testing may overestimate the in vivo dissolution rate for ionizable drugs. Model simulations demonstrated that, assuming a monodisperse particle size when modeling, dissolution may overestimate the dissolution rate for polydisperse particle size distributions. The hydrodynamic parameters (maximum shear rate and fluid velocity) under in vitro conditions in the USP 2 apparatus under different rotational speeds are orders of magnitude higher compared to the in vivo situation. The inconsistencies between the in vivo and in vitro drug dissolution hydrodynamic conditions may cause an overestimation of the dissolution rate under in vitro conditions. The in vitro dissolution data supported the accuracy of the HMT for drug dissolution. This is the first drug dissolution model that incorporates the effect of the bulk pH and buffer concentration on the interfacial drug particle solubility of ionizable compounds, combined with the medium hydrodynamics effect (diffusion, convection, shear, and confinement components), and drug particle size distribution.