Improving the solubility and dissolution of poorly soluble drugs by salt formation and the consequent effect on mechanical properties

  • Sarah David

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The bioavailability of BCS II compounds may be improved by an enhanced solubility and dissolution rate. Four carboxylic acid drugs were selected, which were flurbiprofen, etodolac, ibuprofen and gemfibrozil. The drugs were chosen because they are weak acids with poor aqueous solubility and should readily form salts. The counterions used for salt formation were: butylamine, pentylamine, hexylamine, octylamine, benzylamine, cyclohexylamine, tert-butylamine, 2-amino-2-methylpropan­2-ol, 2-amino-2-methyl propan-1,3-ol and tromethamine. Solubility was partially controlled by the saturated solution pH with the butylamine counterion increasing the solution pH and solubility and dissolution to the greatest extent. As the chain length increased, solubility was reduced due to the increasing lipophilic nature of the counterion. The benzylamine and cyclohexylamine counterions produced crystalline, stable salts but did not improve solubility and dissolution significantly compared to the parent compound. The substitution of hydroxyl groups to tert-butylamine counterions produced an increase in solubility and dissolution. AMP2 resulted in the most enhanced solubility and dissolution compared to the parent drug but using the tris salt did not further improve solubility due to a very stable crystal lattice structure. The parent drugs were very difficult to compress due to orientation effects and lamination. Compacts were prepared of each parent drug and salt and their modulus of elasticity values were measured using a three-point bend (Young’s modulus, E0) were extrapolated to zero porosity and compared. Compressibility and E0 were improved with the butylamine, tert-butylamine, cyclohexylamine and AMP2 counterions. The most significant improvement in compression and E0 was with the AMP2 salts. Mechanical properties were related to the hydrogen bonding within the crystal lattice structure for the gemfibrozil salt series.
Date of Award2005
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBarbara R Conway (Supervisor), Bill Irwin (Supervisor) & Peter Timmins (Supervisor)


  • Improving
  • solubility
  • dissolution
  • drugs
  • salt formation
  • mechanical properties

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