The objective of this study was to monitor the amorphous-to-crystalline solid-state phase transformation kinetics of the model drug ibuprofen with spectroscopic methods during acoustic levitation. Chemical and physical information was obtained by real-time near infrared (NIRS) and Raman spectroscopy measurements. The recrystallisation kinetic parameters (overall recrystallisation rate constant ß and the time needed to reach 50% of the equilibrated level t(50)), were determined using a multivariate curve resolution approach. The acoustic levitation device coupled with non-invasive spectroscopy enabled monitoring of the recrystallisation process of the difficult-to-handle (adhesive) amorphous sample. The application of multivariate curve resolution enabled isolation of the underlying pure spectra, which corresponded well with the reference spectra of amorphous and crystalline ibuprofen. The recrystallisation kinetic parameters were estimated from the recrystallisation profiles. While the empirical recrystallisation rate constant determined by NIR and Raman spectroscopy were comparable, the lag time for recrystallisation was significantly lower with Raman spectroscopy as compared to NIRS. This observation was explained by the high energy density of the Raman laser beam, which might have led to local heating effects of the sample and thus reduced the recrystallisation onset time. It was concluded that acoustic levitation with NIR and Raman spectroscopy combined with multivariate curve resolution allowed direct determination of the recrystallisation kinetics of amorphous drugs and thus is a promising technique for monitoring solid-state phase transformations of adhesive small-sized samples during the early phase of drug development.
European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2013, Vol 48, Issue 1-2, p. 97-103