Investigation of a novel 3-fluid nozzle spray drying technology for the engineering of multifunctional layered microparticles.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the potential of a novel 3-fluid nozzle spray drying technology to formulate differentiated layered microparticles (MPs) of diclofenac sodium (DFS)/ethyl cellulose (EC).

METHODS: DFS/EC MPs were formulated using the inner and/or outer nozzles of a novel 3-fluid nozzle and compared with MPs formed using conventional (2-fluid) spray drying. MPs were characterised for particle size and for morphology by TEM and SEM. Distribution of DFS and EC of MPs was analysed by FT-IR and DSC. A two-factor, three-level (3(2)) factorial design was applied to investigate the effect and interaction of total feed solid content (TSC) and feed flow rate (FFR) on MP size, D(50%) and D(90%), bulk density and MP yield.

RESULTS: Interestingly, TEM demonstrated that MPs formed by 3-fluid nozzle spray drying showed a heterogeneous internal morphology consisting of a core and coat, characteristic of a microcapsule. In comparison, MPs from conventional spray drying showed a homogeneous internal morphology, characteristics of a matrix system. This differential distribution of DFS/EC was supported by FT-IR and DSC. Results of multiple linear regression analysis showed a linear relationship for the effect of TSC and FFR on all responses except for D(50%) where a quadratric model was valid. The effect of TSC/FFR on MP size and yield was similar to conventional spray drying.

CONCLUSION: The novel 3-fluid nozzle spray drying offers a new method of designing layered microparticles or microcapsules which can have wide applications from drug stabilisation to controlled drug delivery and targeting.