AAPS PharmSciTech

, 20:7 | Cite as

Novel Dissolution Method for Oral Film Preparations with Modified Release Properties

  • Isabell SpeerEmail author
  • Maren Preis
  • Jörg Breitkreutz
Research Article Theme: Advancements in Dissolution Testing of Oral and Non-Oral Formulations
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Theme: Advancements in Dissolution Testing of Oral and Non-Oral Formulations


Oromucosal film preparations have gained popularity in pharmaceutical research and development. Therefore, oral films have been integrated into the monograph “oromucosal preparations” of the European Pharmacopeia in 2012. Regulatory authorities explicitly demand dissolution studies for films, but neither refer to suitable methods nor established specifications. Test methods described in the literature are often limited to immediate release formulations or not applicable to investigate the drug release of films with prolonged release profiles considering the different stages of gastrointestinal transit. The aims of this study were to develop a dissolution test method, which is suitable to investigate the drug release of film preparations with immediate as well as modified release profiles and to explore the potential of the test setup considering some physiological characteristics. Therefore, a conventional flow-through cell was equipped with in-house built sample holders. Three-dimensional printing technology was used for prototyping one of the sample holders. Four different types of films were investigated, such as ODFs with immediate (ODFIR) and prolonged release (ODFPR) characteristics as well as a double-layer film (ODFDL), produced with a water-insoluble shielding layer. Anhydrous theophylline was used as a model drug for all film types. Introducing special fixtures for oral films to a conventional flow-through cell enables successful determination of the drug release behavior of oral film preparations with immediate as well as modified release properties. Investigating ODFDL, the application of film sample holders with backing plates such as film sample holder with backing plate (FHB) and 3D printed film sample holder (FH3D) showed prolonged release profiles with 14.6 ± 1.30% theophylline dissolved within 2 h for FHB compared to 92.9 ± 3.33% for the film sample holder without backing plate (FH). This indicates their suitability to examine the integrity of the shielding layer. The application of the backing plate further decreased the drug release of ODFPR < 315 to 61.0 ± 1.69% dissolved theophylline within 2 h using FHB compared to 82.3 ± 0.74% using FH, due to a reduced ODF surface exposed to the dissolution medium. The potential of the dissolution test setup to consider physiological conditions of the human gastrointestinal transit was investigated by applying different flow rates and media compositions to simulate conditions within the oral cavity, stomach, and intestine. For the application of a low flow rate of 1 ml/min, comparable to the salivary flow within the oral cavity, decreased theophylline release was observed, while similar release profiles were obtained for flow rates between 2 and 8 ml/min. Substantial impact on the theophylline release was exerted by varying the composition of the dissolution medium. Since the drug release from ODFPR is controlled by diffusion through a water-insoluble matrix, ion species and concentration strongly affect the release behavior. In the future, IVIVC studies have to be performed to explore, whether obtained data can be used to predict drug release behavior of ODFs during the human gastrointestinal transit.


oromucosal preparations orodispersible films mucoadhesive buccal films multilayer films shielding layer unidirectional drug release dissolution testing prolonged drug release physiological conditions flow-through cell USP 4 film sample holder 



We gratefully acknowledge Prof. Dr. N. Roewer and Dr. J. Broscheit (Sapiotec GmbH) for their support. We also thank S. Niese and S. Stich (Heinrich Heine University) for their help constructing the film sample holders. For the donation of excipients, we would like to thank Ashland, Evonik, and Shin-Etsu Chemical.


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Pharmaceutics and BiopharmaceuticsHeinrich Heine UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Pharmaceutical Sciences Laboratory, Faculty of Science and EngineeringÅbo Akademi UniversityTurkuFinland

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