Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis

Identification of hydrolytic and isomeric N-oxide degradants of vilazodone by on line LC-ESI-MS/MS and APCI-MS.

PMID 25459935


The present study reports the degradation behavior of a new antidepressant drug, vilazodone, under various stress conditions as per International Conference on Harmonization guidelines (ICH, Q1A(R2). The investigation involved monitoring decomposition of the drug under hydrolytic (acidic, basic and neutral), oxidative, photolytic and thermal stress conditions and identifying degradation products. A rapid, precise, accurate and robust ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) method has been developed on a Waters CSH Phenyl-Hexyl column (100 mm × 2.1 mm, 1.7 μm) using gradient elution of 10mM ammonium acetate buffer (pH 5.0) and acetonitrile as mobile phase. The drug was found to be degraded in hydrolytic (acidic and basic) and oxidative conditions, whereas it was stable under neutral hydrolytic, photolytic and thermal stress conditions. The method was extended to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (QTOF-MS) for the structural characterization of degradation products. It has been observed that isomeric N-oxide degradation products were formed under oxidative stress condition. The exact location of N-oxidation in the drug was investigated using atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) due to the formation of characteristic fragment ions. These fragment ions resulted from Meisenheimer rearrangement owing to thermal energy activation at the vaporizer of APCI source. All degradation products were comprehensively characterized by UPLC-ESI-MS/MS and UPLC-APCI-MS experiments. The most probable mechanisms for the formation of degradation products have also been proposed. The method was validated in terms of specificity, linearity, accuracy, precision, and robustness as per ICH guidelines.