We prepared hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) esters of substituted succinates and examined their performance for improving the aqueous solubility of crystalline hydrophobic drugs in spray-dried dispersions (SDDs). From one HPMC, we synthesized five HPMC esters using various monosubstituted succinic anhydrides. These HPMC esters along with a commercial HPMC acetate succinate (HPMCAS) were spray-dried from solutions with phenytoin. The SDDs with different matrices at 10 wt % loading had very similar bulk properties with a minimal amount of detectable crystalline phenytoin as revealed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), powder X-ray diffraction (powder XRD), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). In solution, while the SDD with HPMCAS was very effective at achieving high levels of phenytoin supersaturation initially, it was not competent at maintaining such supersaturation due to the rapid crystallization of the dissolved phenytoin. Alternatively, SDDs with several synthesized HPMC esters of substituted succinates not only achieved rather high initial supersaturation but also maintained high concentrations for extended time (i.e., 1.5 h and longer). Such maintenance was largely ascribed to the inhibition of phenytoin nucleation. Structure-property relationships were established, and the most successful systems contained a high degree of substitution and a combination of a thioether with neighboring weak electron-withdrawing groups in the substituted succinic anhydrides. The effective maintenance of supersaturated solutions was only found in SDDs with rather low drug loadings, which indicates the significance of sufficiently high concentrations of polymer additives in the dissolution media.
- HPMC esters of substituted succinates
- crystallization inhibition
- spray-dried dispersions
- supersaturated solutions