Administration of medications to pediatric patients is challenging because many drugs are not commercially available in appropriate dosage formulations and/or strengths. Consequently, these drugs are prepared extemporaneously as oral liquid (OL) formulations using marketed tablets or capsules. In many cases, the stability of these extemporaneous preparations, which may affect their tolerability, has not been documented. An alternative extemporaneous solid formulation, such as a fast-dispersing tablet (FDT), may offer enhanced stability as well as dosing flexibility because it may be administered as an orodispersible tablet or as a reconstituted suspension/solution. Although FDTs are available increasingly as patient-friendly oral dosage formulations, and their simple method of manufacture can be applied to extemporaneous formulations, such applications have not been explored to date.
The use of extemporaneous captopril OL formulations in hospitals in Ireland was surveyed, and the stability of the most commonly used captopril formulation (reference) was investigated and compared with that of a newly available extemporaneous FDT formulation.
The survey was carried out in 120 hospitals in the Republic of Ireland. The 56-day stability of the most commonly used formulation was compared with that of a newly available extemporaneous captopril FDT preparation. The captopril content of the formulations was measured by high-performance liquid chromatography analysis. Formulations were also monitored for changes in appearance, including color; odor; and pH (OLs only).
The survey showed that extemporaneously prepared captopril OLs were extensively used, particularly in specialist children's hospitals. The most commonly used preparation was a xanthan gum–based oral suspension. Analysis of these OL preparations showed the OLs to have been stable up to day 7, but that the captopril concentration decreased to 72% to 84% at day 14 and to 59% to 68% at day 56; this decrease was accompanied by a pungent odor suggestive of captopril oxidation. In contrast, FDT formulations demonstrated greater stability, with 96% of captopril present at day 56.
The results of this study support only a 7-day stability for the currently dispensed captopril OL in hospitals in Ireland. In contrast, a stability of at least 56 days was shown with the FDTs. The FDTs may represent an alternative and convenient oral solid extemporaneous preparation of captopril and, potentially, other extemporaneous pediatric medications.
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Accepted: October 15, 2012
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