Exploring the performance-controlling tablet disintegration mechanisms for direct compression formulations

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The design and manufacture of tablets is a challenging process due to the complex interrelationships between raw material properties, the manufacturing settings and the tablet properties. An important factor in formulation and process design is the fact that raw material and tablet properties drive the disintegration and dissolution performance of the final drug product. This study aimed to identify the mechanisms which control tablet disintegration for 16 different immediate-release placebo formulations based on raw material and tablet properties. Each formulation consisted of two fillers (47% each), one disintegrant and a lubricant. Tablets were manufactured by direct compression using four different combinations of the fillers microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), mannitol, lactose and dibasic calcium phosphate anhydrous (DCPA). The disintegration mechanism was primarily driven by the filler combination, where MCC/lactose tablets were identified as wettability controlled, MCC/mannitol tablets as dissolution controlled and DCPA-based tablets (MCC/DCPA and lactose/DCPA) as swelling controlled. A change of 2% in porosity for the wettability controlled tablets (MCC/lactose) caused a significant acceleration of the disintegration process (77% reduction of disintegration time), whereas for swelling controlled tablets (MCC/DCPA) the same porosity change did not considerably impact the disintegration process (3% change in disintegration time). By classifying these formulations, critical formulation and manufacturing properties can be identified to allow tablet performance to be optimised.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120221
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Early online date2 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021


  • disintegration mechanism
  • wettability
  • excipient swelling
  • dissolution
  • solid dosage form
  • formulation development

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