The objects of this investigation were (i) to prepare and characterize a new anhydrous theophylline phase that is metastable under ambient conditions, ahd (ii) to prepare model tablet formulations containing either this metastable anhydrate (1*) or stable anhydrous theophylline (I), store them under different relative humidity (RH) conditions, and compare their dissolution behavior. I* was prepared by dehydration of theophylline monohydrate (II). Variable temperature X-ray powder diffractometry of II revealed the following series of transitions: II → I* → I. The metastable anhydrate, I*, which has not yet been reported in the literature, appears to be related monotropically to I. It was characterized by ambient and variable temperature X-ray powder diffractometry, Karl Fischer titrimetry, and thermoanalytical techniques (differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis). Tablet formulations containing either I* or I were prepared and stored at 33 and 52% RH (room temperature). The solid state of the drug was monitored by X-ray powder diffractometry and the tablets were subjected to the USP dissolution test. In tablets, I* completely converted to I in ≤ 10 days when stored at either 33 or 52% RH. Scanning electron microscopy provided direct visual evidence of recrystallization. This recrystallization was accompanied by a decrease in the dissolution rate of the stored formulations that was so pronounced in the formulations stored at 52% RH that they failed the USP dissolution test. The in situ solid-state transition appears to be responsible for the decrease in dissolution rate observed following storage. Stored tablets containing I showed neither a phase transition nor an alteration in their dissolution behavior.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
NVP was partially supported by the USP Fellowship Program and the International Student Work Opportunity Program of the University of Minnesota. We thank Mr. Rebanta Bandyopadhyay for assisting in the SEM studies and Dr. Gary Ward for his help during the early stages of the project.
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