Impact of formulation and process variables on solid-state stability of theophylline in controlled release formulations. Academic Article uri icon


  • Understanding the impact of pharmaceutical processing, formulation excipients and their interactions on the solid-state transitions of pharmaceutical solids during use and in storage is critical in ensuring consistent product performance. This study reports the effect of polymer viscosity, diluent type, granulation and granulating fluid (water and isopropanol) on the pseudopolymorphic transition of theophylline anhydrous (THA) in controlled release formulations as well as the implications of this transition on critical quality attributes of the tablets. Accordingly, 12 formulations were prepared using a full factorial screening design and monitored over a 3 month period at 40 C and 75%. Physicochemical characterization revealed a drastic drop in tablet hardness accompanied by a very significant increase in moisture content and swelling of all formulations. Spectroscopic analysis (ssNMR, Raman, NIR and PXRD) indicated conversion of THA to theophylline monohydrate (TMO) in all formulations prepared by aqueous wet granulation in as early as two weeks. Although all freshly prepared formulations contained THA, the hydration-dehydration process induced during aqueous wet granulation hastened the pseudopolymorphic conversion of theophylline during storage through a cascade of events. On the other hand, no solid state transformation was observed in directly compressed formulations and formulations in which isopropanol was employed as a granulating fluid even after the twelve weeks study period. The transition of THA to TMO resulted in a decrease in dissolution while an increase in dissolution was observed in directly compressed and IPA granulated formulation. Consequently, the impact of pseudopolymorphic transition of theophylline on dissolution in controlled release formulations may be the net result of two opposing factors: swelling and softening of the tablets which tend to favor an increase in drug dissolution and hydration of theophylline which decreases the drug dissolution.

published proceedings

  • Int J Pharm

author list (cited authors)

  • Korang-Yeboah, M., Rahman, Z., Shah, D., Mohammad, A., Wu, S., Siddiqui, A., & Khan, M. A.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Korang-Yeboah, Maxwell||Rahman, Ziyaur||Shah, Dhaval||Mohammad, Adil||Wu, Suyang||Siddiqui, Akhtar||Khan, Mansoor A

publication date

  • February 2016