Solid-state behavior of cromolyn sodium hydrates

Linna R. Chen, Victor G. Young, David Lechuga-Ballesteros, David J.W. Grant

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67 Scopus citations


Cromolyn sodium (CS, disodium cromoglycate) is an antiasthmatic and antiallergenic drug. The solid-state behavior of CS is still not completely understood. CS forms nonstoichiometric hydrates and sorbs and liberates water in a continuous manner, although with hysteresis. The reported continuous changes in crystal lattice parameters of CS, which are associated with the changes in water stoichiometry, renders CS physically variable, which may complicate formulation and processing. In addition, controversies still remain as to whether CS exists as different stoichiometric hydrates, mainly because of its variable powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) patterns (Cox, J. S. G. et al. J. Pharm. Sci. 1971, 60, 1458-65), which indicates a variable crystal structure. The objectives of this study are (a) to understand this unusual water uptake in the light of the molecular and crystal structures of CS, (b) to understand the relationship between the crystal structure and the PXRD patterns using Rietveld analysis, and (c) to investigate whether CS exists as different stoichiometric hydrates. The crystal structure of CS containing 6.44 molecules of water per molecule of CS was determined at 295 and 173 K. The packing arrangements in these structures (space group P1) are similar to those in a previous report, in which the water stoichiometry is 5 to 6, but the bond lengths, bond angles, and lattice parameters are different, reflecting the different water stoichiometries. In the crystal structure solved at 295 K, the position of only one of the two sodium ions could be determined. In the crystal structure solved at 173 K, the previously undetermined sodium ion is disordered over three sites, while four of eight water positions are partially occupied. The 2-hydroxypropane chain that links the two cyclic moieties of CS was found to be flexible, perhaps allowing the CS crystal to accommodate variable amounts of water. The lack of a fixed coordination site for the second sodium ion may contribute to the disorder of the water molecules. The nonstoichiometric water content of CS is mainly attributed to the water molecules that are associated with the two unoccupied sodium sites. From the PXRD patterns of CS powder, equilibrated at various relative humidities, the various lattice parameters, including previously unreported α, β, and γ values, were calculated using Rietveld analysis. The peak shifts in these PXRD patterns are quantitatively explained by slight changes in the unit cell parameters. The recently described solid forms of CS were prepared and were found to correspond to the original crystalline CS, described by Cox et al (1971), but with contamination by the known M mesophase in various proportions. The present results support a variable crystal structure and not the existence of different stoichiometric hydrates of CS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1191-1200
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Raj Suryanarayanan, Department of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota, for helpful discussions. We also thank the following: Inhale Therapeutic Systems, San Carlos, CA, for financial support; Fisons, plc, Pharmaceutical Division (now Astra Charnwood and Rhône-Poulenc Rorer), Loughborough, UK, for a gift of cromolyn sodium; and the Supercomputing Institute of the University of Minnesota for financially supporting our use of the Medicinal Chemistry/ Supercomputing Institute Visualization - Workstation Laboratory.


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