Journal of pharmaceutical sciences

Wetting effects versus ion pairs diffusivity: interactions of anionic surfactants with highly soluble cationic drugs and its impact on tablet dissolution.

PMID 26017286


A study was conducted to develop a mechanistic understanding of dissolution of a highly soluble cationic drug, metformin hydrochloride, under the influence of anionic surfactants, sodium alkyl sulfates. The surfactants did not influence the saturated solubility of the drug, but reduced the surface tension of the dissolution media as the alkyl chain length increased. Their influence on tablet wetting based on the contact angles did not show any trend. The dissolution of 850 mg metformin hydrochloride tablets in 0.1 N HCl and pH 4.5 acetate buffer with 0.01% (w/v) sodium n-octyl sulfate (C8), sodium n-decyl sulfate (C10), or sodium n-tetradecyl sulfate (C14) was similar to the control, but was enhanced by sodium lauryl sulfate (C12). At 0.1% (w/v) concentration, the dissolution was not enhanced by C12 because the reduction in surface tension was counterbalanced by an increase in hydrophobic ion pairs that showed slower diffusivity by nuclear magnetic resonance. At 0.1% (w/v), metformin also formed an insoluble salt (1:2 molar ratios) with C10 (pH 1.2), C12, and C14 (pH 1.2 and 4.5) but not with C8. Three competing factors influenced the drug dissolution by surfactants: reduction in surface tension of the dissolution media, ion pairs with low diffusivity, and formation of an insoluble salt.