The right excipient can make all the difference

Multifunctional excipients such as galenIQ™ allow manufacturers to produce traditional and innovative dosage forms of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.

Savannah Pharma PCR March

Characterised by their ability to address technical challenges, multifunctional excipients also enhance formulations. Technical challenges in manufacturing are varied – for example easy swallowing and a good taste are priorities for paediatric and geriatric dosage forms. Ensuring better ease of use, some manufacturers are looking for medications that do not need to be taken with food or water. To simplify dosage regimen, controlled release applications can reduce frequency of administration and extend the duration of the desired effect. Multifunctional excipients such as galenIQ™ can help manufacturers overcome these challenges while contributing to more efficient production processes.

An easy pill to swallow

Minitablets are easy to administer (Image: Shutterstock)

Tablets are still the most widely used drug delivery system. However, some patient groups, including the elderly, people with dysphagia, and children may find it difficult to swallow conventional solid dosage forms because of their size and shape. Therefore, multi-particulate drug delivery systems – such as minitablets – have gained favour. With a diameter of between 1mm and 4mm, minitablets are easy to take, while enabling exact dosing. They can also be coated in an accurate and convenient way and offer a high degree of dispersion in the gastrointestinal tract, reducing the risk of high local drug concentrations. Manufacturing minitablets requires a filler-binder with excellent flowability. The excipient should also enable the production of high-hardness tablets at low compression forces to avoid damaging the multiple-tip punches used to make them. In addition, good taste and water solubility are important characteristics, especially when it comes to orodispersible minitablets that are tailored for fast drug release. galenIQ™ 721, BENEO’s water-soluble filler-binder, meets all these requirements.

Excellent taste and functionality combined

galenIQ™ is the pharmaceutical grade of BENEO’s isomalt, a disaccharide alcohol derived from beet sugar, which is the main reason why it has a taste profile similar to sucrose. This innovative excipient may reduce the bitterness of APIs and could contribute to a pleasant taste and mouthfeel in the final pharmaceutical or nutraceutical product. In addition, galenIQ™ 721 offers excellent flowability, great compressibility and ensures content uniformity. These functionalities enable high tablet hardness at a low compression force.

Beyond tablets and capsules

Besides the agglomerated grade for direct compression, BENEO’s product range comprises different versions that serve a broad variety of dosage forms. The filler-binder is available in a wide array of particle size distributions, morphologies and levels of solubility. This makes it a highly flexible excipient that can be used to formulate tablets, chewables, lozenges, effervescents, capsules, powder blends and syrups.

Gummies are a visually appealing dosage format with a pleasant taste (Image: Shutterstock)

With isomalt being an established ingredient in confectionery, the pharmaceutical grade galenIQ™ can act as an excipient for more innovative delivery forms such as medicinal gummies. Compared to capsules or tablets, gummies are visually appealing and can therefore lead to better patient compliance, especially in children. Because of its sugar-like taste, galenIQ™ contributes to an appealing taste profile. Regarding processing, when compared to sugar it is much less sensitive to heat and acid and is more stable during the preparation process. galenIQ™ also makes it possible to embed APIs such as vitamins and minerals in the appealing gummy form – whether based on gelatine or plant-based alternatives.

Managing oily plant extracts  

According to Grand View Research’s global botanical ingredients market report, demand is burgeoning for ingredients such as herbs, leaves, spices, flowers etc. Valued at $164.4bn in 2022 and expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% from 2023 to 2030, the industry is experiencing significant growth. Yet plant extracts are often sticky or oily and can be difficult to formulate into a solid format, such as a tablet. galenIQ™ 721 offers a high oil-binding capacity, agglomerate stability as well as flowability. Acting like a sponge, it absorbs the oily plant extract which remains as a dry flowable powder. Its morphology helps to retain the homogeneity of the mixture, making it easier to produce robust tablets with a high content uniformity.

Nutraceuticals formulated with botanical ingredients are increasingly popular among consumers (Image: Shutterstock)

Due to the excipient’s water solubility, plant extract tablets disintegrate rapidly without the use of a super-disintegrant. In addition, the excipient reduces the often-unpleasant taste of oily plant extracts, enhancing the palatability of the tablet and promoting patient compliance.

An excipient that ticks many boxes

There is a broad range of excipients on the market, but it can be difficult to find a multifunctional solution that combines several properties, such as excellent flowability, low hygroscopicity and chemical stability to name a few. In addition, compliance is key – medicines that taste good can considerably increase acceptance by certain patient groups.

Choosing the right filler-binder can enhance the overall taste and mouthfeel of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products and thus improve compliance.

All galenIQ™ grades are physically and chemically stable, non-hygroscopic and enhance the palatability of the final form. galenIQ™ is available in South Africa from Savannah Fine Chemicals.

Savannah Pharma PCR March

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