AAPS PharmSciTech

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 1203–1212 | Cite as

Sublingual Diffusion of Epinephrine Microcrystals from Rapidly Disintegrating Tablets for the Potential First-Aid Treatment of Anaphylaxis: In Vitro and Ex Vivo Study

  • Mutasem M. Rawas-QalajiEmail author
  • Shima Werdy
  • Ousama Rachid
  • F. Estelle R. Simons
  • Keith J. Simons
Research Article


For the first-aid treatment of anaphylaxis, epinephrine (Epi) 0.3 mg intramuscular (IM) injection in the thigh is the drug of choice. Epi auto-injectors are widely recommended for anaphylaxis treatment in community settings but not necessarily carried or used as prescribed when anaphylaxis occurs. We therefore developed rapidly disintegrating sublingual tablets (RDSTs) as an alternative noninvasive dosage form. Our objective in this study was to evaluate the effect of reducing Epi particle size on its in vitro and ex vivo diffusion, with the goal of enhancing Epi sublingual absorption from Epi RDSTs. Epi particle size was reduced by top-bottom technique using a microfluidizer for one pass at 30,000 Psi. The micronized Epi crystals (Epi-MC) were characterized using Zetasizer, Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Epi RDSTs were formulated and manufactured using our previously developed method. In vitro and ex vivo diffusion of Epi 10, 20, and 40 mg RDSTs and Epi-MC 10 and 20 mg RDSTs (n = 4) were evaluated using Franz cells. Epi 10 mg solution was used as a control. Mean (±standard deviation (SD)) Epi particle size was successfully reduced from 131.8 ± 10.5 to 2.5 ± 0.4 μm. Cumulative Epi diffused and influx from 40 mg Epi RDSTs and 20 mg Epi-MC RDSTs were not significantly different from each other in vitro and ex vivo (p > 0.05). Also, Epi permeability from 20 mg Epi-MC RDSTs was significantly higher than from the rest (p < 0.05). Epi-MC RDSTs improved Epi diffusion twofold and might have the potential to reduce the Epi dose needed in RDSTs by 50%.


adrenaline anaphylaxis diffusion epinephrine sublingual 



Dr. Rawas-Qalaji would like to acknowledge the financial support received from the President’s Faculty Research & Development Grant (PFRDG) at Nova Southeastern University. No financial or in-kind support for this study was provided by any corporate sponsor.

Conflict of Interest

Mutasem Rawas-Qalaji reports no declarations of interest.

Shima Werdy reports no declarations of interest.

Ousama Rachid reports no declarations of interest.

F. Estelle R. Simons reports no declarations of interest.

Keith J. Simons reports no declarations of interest.


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mutasem M. Rawas-Qalaji
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shima Werdy
    • 1
  • Ousama Rachid
    • 2
  • F. Estelle R. Simons
    • 3
  • Keith J. Simons
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.College of PharmacyNova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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