Sintering of wax for controlling release from pellets




The purpose of the present study was to investigate incorporation of hydrophobic (ie, waxy) material into pellets using a thermal sintering technique and to evaluate the pellets in vitro for controlled release. Pellets prepared by extrusion-spheronization technology were formulated with a water-soluble drug, microcrystalline cellulose, and carnauba wax. Powdered carnauba wax (4%–20%) prepared by grinding or by emulsification was studied with an attempt to retard the drug release. The inclusion of ground or emulsified carnauba wax did not sustain the release of theophylline for more than 3 hours. Matrix pellets of theophylline prepared with various concentrations of carnauba wax were sintered thermally at various times and temperatures. In vitro drug release profiles indicated an increase in drug release retardation with increasing carnauba wax concentration. Pellets prepared with ground wax showed a higher standard deviation than did those prepared with emulsified wax. There was incomplete release at the end of 12 hours for pellets prepared with 20% ground or emulsified wax. The sintering temperature and duration were optimized to allow for a sustained release lasting at least 12 hours. The optimized temperature and duration were found to be 100° and 140 seconds, respectively. The sintered pellets had a higher hydrophobicity than did the unsintered pellets. Scanning electron micrographs indicated that the carnauba wax moved internally, thereby increasing the surface area of wax within the pellets.

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