Prilling of API/fatty acid suspensions: Processability and characterisation

Elien De Coninck, V. Vanhoorne, A. Elmahdy, M. Boone, G. Van Assche, D. Markl, B. G. De Geest, T. De Beer, C. Vervaet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Current study evaluated the processability and characteristics of prills made of an active pharmaceutical ingredient/fatty acid (API/FA) suspension instead of previously studied API/FA solutions to enlarge the application field of prilling. Metformin hydrochloride (MET) and paracetamol (PAR) were used as model APIs while both the effect of drug load (10–40%) and FA chain length (C14–C22) were evaluated. API/FA suspensions were processable on lab-scale prilling equipment without thermal degradation, nozzle obstruction or sedimentation in function of processing time. The collected prills were spherical (AR ≥ 0.898) with a smooth surface (sphericity ≥ 0.914) and a particle size of ±2.3 mm and 2.4 mm for MET and PAR prills, respectively, independent of drug load and/or FA chain length. In vitro drug release evaluation revealed a faster drug release at higher drug load, higher API water solubility and shorter FA chain length. Solid state characterisation via XRD and Raman spectroscopy showed that API and FA crystallinity was maintained after thermal processing via prilling and during storage. Evaluation of the similarity factor indicated a stable drug release (f2 > 50) from MET and PAR prills after 6 months storage at 25 °C or 40 °C.
Original languageEnglish
Article number118756
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2019


  • Prilling
  • Controlled release
  • Multiparticulate dosage forms
  • Fatty acids
  • Metformin hydrochloride
  • Paracetamol


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