The objective of this study was to compare the in vitro dissolution profile of a new rapidly absorbed paracetamol tablet containing sodium bicarbonate (PS) with that of a conventional paracetamol tablet (P), and to relate these by deconvolution and mapping to in vivo release. The dissolution methods used include the standard procedure described in the USP monograph for paracetamol tablets, employing buffer at pH 5.8 or 0.05 M HCl at stirrer speeds between 10 and 50 rpm. The mapping process was developed and implemented in Microsoft Excel® worksheets that iteratively calculated the optimal values of scale and shape factors which linked in vivo time to in vitro time. The in vitro–in vivo correlation (IVIVC) was carried out simultaneously for both formulations to produce common mapping factors. The USP method, using buffer at pH 5.8, demonstrated no difference between the two products. However, using an acidic medium the rate of dissolution of P but not of PS decreased with decreasing stirrer speed. A significant correlation (r = 0.773; p<.00001) was established between in vivo release and in vitro dissolution using the profiles obtained with 0.05 M HCl and a stirrer speed of 30 rpm. The scale factor for optimal simultaneous IVIVC in the fasting state was 2.54 and the shape factor was 0.16; corresponding values for mapping in the fed state were 3.37 and 0.13 (implying a larger in vitro–in vivo time difference but reduced shape difference in the fed state). The current IVIVC explains, in part, the observed in vivo variability of the two products. The approach to mapping may also be extended to different batches of these products, to predict the impact of any changes of in vitro dissolution on in vivo release and plasma drug concentration–time profiles
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