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Discovery & Development Dosage Forms, Technology and Equipment, Small Molecules, Formulation, Ingredients

Some Like it Hot (Melted)

Coating has been used in the pharmaceutical industry for decades – initially beginning with sugar coatings. Today, film coating is the most common, with continuous advances being made towards improved environmental protection, aesthetic qualities and more complex drug release profiles. Films coatings generally rely heavily on solvents to dissolve the coating material – and those solvents have a number of drawbacks, including cost and environmental issues. Aqueous coatings are now very popular in the industry but, although they overcome some of the downsides of solvents, they can cause drug stability issues.

An increasing number of companies are turning to novel coating technologies, with one of the most interesting examples being hot-melt coating (HMC). It’s a very clever technology with a simple premise. The API particles are wetted with a molten excipient mix (often including lipids), which is then cooled to form a homogenous coating. The coated API can then easily be combined with excipients like flavors depending on the needs of the patient. Broadly speaking, HMC offers a number of advantages to manufacturers – importantly, no solvent is required and process times are usually short. This results in low energy consumption during production, making HMC a sustainable and ecofriendly technology. It also tends to be very cost effective. All these benefits have been well discussed in literature (1)(2).

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About the Author

Detlev Haack

Detlev Haack is Head of Research and Development at Hermes Pharma, Germany.

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