Drug development and industrial pharmacy

Pharmaceutical and pharmacokinetic characterization of a novel sublingual buprenorphine/naloxone tablet formulation in healthy volunteers.

PMID 24099551


Bitter taste, as well as dissolve time, presents a significant challenge for the acceptability of formulations for oral transmucosal drug delivery. To characterize a novel sublingual tablet formulation of buprenorphine/naloxone with regards to pharmacokinetics, dissolve time and formulation acceptability. Dry mixing techniques were employed to produce a small and fast dissolving buprenorphine/naloxone sublingual tablet formulation, OX219 (Zubsolv®), using sucralose and menthol as sweetener and flavor to mask the bitter taste of the active ingredients. Two cross-over studies were performed in healthy volunteers to evaluate pharmacokinetics, dissolve time and acceptability of OX219 5.7/1.4 mg tablets compared to the commercially available buprenorphine/naloxone formulations Suboxone® tablets and films (8/2 mg). Buprenorphine exposure was equivalent in OX219 and Suboxone tablets. Sublingual dissolve times were significantly shorter for OX219 than for Suboxone tablets and were similar to Suboxone films. The OX219 formulation received significantly higher subjective ratings for taste and overall acceptability than both Suboxone formulations. OX219 was preferred over Suboxone tablet and film formulations by 77.4% and 88.9% of subjects, respectively. A sublingual tablet formulation with an improved acceptability has been successfully developed.