Ryoma Tanaka, Yusuke Hattori, Makoto Otsuka, Kazuhide Ashizawa
Spray freeze drying (SFD) produces suitable particles for the pharmaceutical formulation of dry powders used in dry powder inhalers (DPIs). However, SFD particles have large specific surface area and are partially made up of amorphous solids; this state is hygroscopic and would lead to changes in physicochemical properties by humidity when the particles are stored over the long-term or under high humidity conditions such as in the lungs. This study focused on the application of SFD with a cocrystal technique which can add humidity resistance to the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and the investigation of the physicochemical properties under high humidity conditions. Cocrystal samples containing theophylline anhydrate (THA) and oxalic acid (OXA) in a molar ratio of 2:1 were prepared by SFD. The crystalline structure, thermal behavior, solid-state, hygroscopicity, stability, and aerodynamic properties were evaluated. Simultaneous in situ measurement by near-infrared and Raman (NIR-Raman) spectroscopy was performed to analyze the humidification process. The SFD sample had a porous particle and an optimal aerodynamic particle size (3.03 μm) although the geometric particle diameter was 7.20 μm. In addition, the sample formed the THAOXA cocrystal with partial coamorphous. The hydration capacity and pseudopolymorphic transformation rate of the SFD sample were much lower than those of THA under conditions of 96.4% relative humidity and 40.0 °C temperature because of the cocrystal formation. The reasons were discussed based on the crystalline structure and energy. The SFD technology for cocrystallization would enable the pharmaceutical preparation of DPI products under environmentally friendly conditions.