New non-invasive tablet screening method from the University of Eastern Finland

The screening method reveals important properties of pharmaceutical tablets using non-destructive methods

Information on significant properties of pharmaceutical tablets, such as their mechanical strength and dissolution, can now be obtained without resorting to the conventional testing methods, according to a new study completed at the University of Eastern Finland.

A new structural descriptive parameter based on terahertz (THz) time-domain techniques allow for a non-invasive detection of pharmaceutical tablet parameters.

Using THz radiation, it is possible to determine what a tablet is made of, including the nature of its constituents and how they are arranged. THz radiation has unique properties that permit fast identification of pharmaceutical tablet properties. This involves information on the arrangement of various particulates within a tablet.

Scientists at the University, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Cambridge (UK) and in Switzerland, demonstrated the ability to non-invasively detect the porosity, weight and height of tablets.

This method can detect counterfeit and substandard tablets – for example, fake antimalarial tablets – flooding the markets in developing countries, where counterfeit drugs are a major cause of death.

Since about 80% of administered drugs are tablets, there is a significant need for a process analytical technology tool that will permit the screening of individual pharmaceutical tablets before they reach end users.

The researchers believe that a non-destructive approach for quality screening of tablets could replace the conventional destructive techniques, such as mercury intrusion porosimetry.

The methods were presented by Prince Bawuah in his doctoral dissertation entitled: Terahertz time-domain study on selected parameters of pharmaceutical tablets using effective medium approximation”.

It was originally published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics and Optical Review.