Quantification, mechanism, and mitigation of active ingredient phase transformation in tablets

Naveen K. Thakral, Vishard Ragoonanan, Raj Suryanarayanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Model tablet formulations containing thiamine hydrochloride [as a nonstoichiometric hydrate (NSH)] and dicalcium phosphate dihydrate (DCPD) were prepared. In intact tablets, the water released by dehydration of DCPD mediated the transition of NSH to thiamine hydrochloride hemihydrate (HH). The use of an X-ray microdiffractometer with an area detector enabled us to rapidly and simultaneously monitor both the phase transformations. The spatial information, gained by monitoring the tablet from the surface to the core (depth profiling), revealed that both DCPD dehydration and HH formation progressed from the surface to the tablet core as a function of storage time. Film coating of the tablets with ethyl cellulose caused a decrease in both the reaction rates. There was a pronounced lag time, but once initiated, the transformations occurred simultaneously throughout the tablet. Thus the difference in the phase transformation behavior between the uncoated and the coated tablets could not have been discerned without the depth profiling. Incorporation of hydrophilic colloidal silica as a formulation component further slowed down the transformations. By acting as a water scavenger it maintained a very "dry" environment in the tablet matrix. Finally, by coating the NSH particles with hydrophobic colloidal silica, the formation of HH was further substantially decelerated. The microdiffractometric technique not only enabled direct analyses of tablets but also provided the critical spatial information. This helped in the selection of excipients with appropriate functionality to prevent the in situ phase transformations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3128-3136
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular pharmaceutics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 5 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • colloidal silica
  • depth profiling
  • dicalcium phosphate dihydrate
  • tablet
  • thiamine hydrochloride
  • two-dimensional X-ray diffractometry


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