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Why there is no upper limit for the dissolution in IR products?




Welcome, dear readers, to Pharma Growth Hub, your go-to source for all things pharmaceutical.

I'm Bhaskar Napte, and today, we're diving into one of the most frequently asked questions in the world of pharmaceuticals - Why is there no upper limit for the dissolution of Immediate Release (IR) products?


IR, which stands for immediate release, is a term you've likely come across if you've ever delved into the intricacies of pharmaceutical manufacturing. You may have noticed that IR products have dissolution specifications, typically expressed as not less than a certain percentage, often around 75% or 80%. These specifications also include time limits, usually within 15, 30, or 45 minutes.


Now, the purpose of dissolution testing is not to determine the potency, as it would be in the case of an assay. Instead, dissolution specifications incorporate a time factor. This means that the process is time-dependent, as evidenced by the inclusion of a time limit, such as 45 minutes.


Simply put, the less time it takes for the dissolution to occur, the lower the dissolution percentage, while a longer timeframe yields a higher dissolution percentage, approaching 100%. However, there's a fascinating twist to this story.


To achieve a discriminating dissolution test, it's preferable to use a dissolution medium with low solubility (keeping in mind that the medium does not become a rate-limiting step). This aspect is crucial in understanding why there's no upper limit for the dissolution of immediate-release dosage forms. But why is low solubility in the dissolution medium so vital?

Low solubility in the medium is advantageous because it enhances discriminatory power. Discriminatory power is a key characteristic of any dissolution test procedure, as it helps distinguish between different formulations and manufacturing processes.


While using a medium with low solubility is generally preferred, you must also ensure that the sink condition is met and that the dissolution medium itself doesn't become the rate-limiting factor. In other words, the dissolution medium should not hinder the release of the drug product, as it could lead to inaccurate results.


Therefore, the medium with the lowest solubility for the drug substance is the preferred choice for dissolution testing. This approach maximizes the discriminatory power of the test method. In essence, dissolution testing, by design, biases towards limiting the rate of release to achieve the necessary discrimination, making an upper limit unnecessary.


In this light, it becomes clear that dissolution testing is inherently biased to limit high drug release. Hence, the discussion revolves around lower limits, such as not less than 70% or 80% of the quantity (Q). The intent is always to strive for higher drug release.


To put it into perspective, think about the specifications for related substances. These specifications have lower limits for impurity but never have upper limits, usually due to the design of drug manufacturing, which aims to eliminate or minimize related substances.

This philosophy extends to dissolution testing for immediate-release dosage forms. While modified-release dosage forms have both lower and upper limits at specific time points, immediate-release products do not. The focus is always on achieving optimal and consistent release, not a maximum release.


However, there are situations where erratic dissolution results, such as 200%, might occur. In such cases, it's essential to investigate the root cause. Dissolution values greater than those found during the uniformity of dosage unit test must be explored, as they point to factors beyond manufacturing process variability.


In essence, understanding the complexities of dissolution in immediate-release products reveals that the lower limit is the only concern. The design of the dissolution method naturally discourages high drug release, making an upper limit irrelevant. This showcases the meticulous and precise nature of pharmaceutical quality control, ensuring that each medication you take is consistent and safe.


What is your thought? Please do share…

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