Metformin Hydrochloride and Sitagliptin Phosphate Fixed-Dose Combination Product Prepared Using Melt Granulation Continuous Processing Technology


The development of oral solid dosage forms, such as tablets that contain a high dose of drug(s), requires polymers and other additives to be incorporated at low levels as possible, to keep the final tablet weight low, and, correspondingly, the dosage form size small enough to be acceptable from a patient perspective. Additionally, a multi-step batch-based manufacturing process is usually required for production of solid dosage forms. This study presents the development and production, by twin-screw melt granulation technology, of a high-dose immediate-release fixed-dose combination (FDC) product of metformin hydrochloride (MET) and sitagliptin phosphate (SIT), with drug loads of 80% w/w and 6% w/w, respectively. For an 850/63 mg dose of MET/SIT, the final weight of the caplets was approximately 1063 mg compared with 1143 mg for the equivalent dose in Janumet®, the marketed product. Mixtures of the two drugs and polymers were melt-granulated at temperatures below the individual melting temperatures of MET and SIT (231.65 and 213.89°C, respectively) but above the glass transition temperature or melting temperature of the binder(s) used. By careful selection of binders, and processing conditions, direct compressed immediate-release caplets with desired product profiles were successfully produced. The melt granule formulations before compression showed good flow properties, were larger in particle size than individual starting API materials and were easily compressible. Melt granulation is a suitable platform for developing direct compressible high-dose immediate-release solid dosage forms of FDC products.

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This investigation was conducted with the financial support of both the Department for the Economy of Northern Ireland and Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) under Grant Number 14/IA/2559.

AM Healy also acknowledges funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) [grant number 12/RC/2275], co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund.

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Correspondence to Anne Marie Healy.

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Kelleher, J.F., Madi, A.M., Gilvary, G.C. et al. Metformin Hydrochloride and Sitagliptin Phosphate Fixed-Dose Combination Product Prepared Using Melt Granulation Continuous Processing Technology. AAPS PharmSciTech 21, 23 (2020).

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  • fixed-dose combinations
  • hot melt extrusion
  • melt granulation
  • continuous manufacturing
  • high-dose compounds