Polymorph screening: Influence of solvents on the rate of solvent-mediated polymorphic transformation

Chong Hui Gu, Victor Young, David J.W. Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

305 Scopus citations


Solvent-mediated polymorphic transformation is an efficient technique to obtain the most stable polymorph. The rate of solvent-mediated polymorphic transformation of sulfamerazine at 24°C in various solvents and solvent mixtures is controlled by the nucleation rate of the more stable Form II. The transformation rate is generally higher in the solvent giving a higher solubility and is low in the solvent giving a low solubility (8 mmol/L). In these solvents, because of a high interfacial energy, the metastable zone may be wider than the solubility difference between two polymorphs, such that the critical free energy barrier for nucleation cannot be overcome. In addition to the solubility, the strength of the solvent-solute interactions is also important in determining the transformation rate. For sulfamerazine, the transformation rate is lower in the solvent with a stronger hydrogen bond acceptor propensity. Because solubility is higher in the solvent with stronger hydrogen bond acceptor propensity, the balance of solubility and strength of hydrogen bonding interactions between the solute and solvent molecules determines the polymorphic transformation rate. Degree of agitation and temperature also change the polymorphic transformation rate by influencing the crystallization kinetics of the more stable polymorph.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50003843
Pages (from-to)1878-1890
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Professor Michael Abraham, Department of Chemistry, University College London, for kindly calculating the hydrogen bond acceptor and donor propensities of sulfamerazine. We also thank Bristol-Myers Squibb for kindly providing financial support and the Supercomputing Institute of the University of Minnesota for financially supporting our use of the Medicinal Chemistry/Supercomputing Institute Visualization-Workstation Laboratory.


  • Crystal growth
  • Crystallization
  • Hydrogen bonding
  • Nucleation
  • Polymorph
  • Solubility
  • Solvatochromic parameters
  • Solvent-mediated transformation
  • Sulfamerazine


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