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    Drug release from microparticle-based topical gels may affect their bioavailability, safety and efficacy. This work sought to elucidate spatial distribution of the drug within the microparticle matrix and how this impacts the product's critical performance attributes. The purpose of this research was to inform the development of in vitro characterization approaches to support a demonstration of bioequivalence. Drug-free microparticles were loaded with tretinoin or drug-loaded microparticles were separated from purchased Retin-A Micro® (tretinoin) topical gel drug products. The resultant microparticles were analyzed for tretinoin content, drug loading efficiency, morphology, surface topography, surface pore size distribution, particle size distribution and tretinoin release. The solid-state characteristics and chemical interaction of tretinoin with the microparticles were also investigated. Microparticles loaded with tretinoin made in-house and those separated from Retin-A Micro® (tretinoin) topical gel were spherical, polydisperse and free of aggregates. The surface porosity of the microparticles was ∼19.8% with an average pore size of ∼327 nm. Microparticles loaded with tretinoin in-house were smaller in size and exhibited faster drug release than those separated from Retin-A Micro® (tretinoin) topical gel. Tretinoin release was found to increase with an increase in the drug loading. Based on XRD and DSC data, tretinoin was present in an amorphous state. The FTIR spectra indicated a disappearance of carbonyl band of microparticles and shifting of the hydroxyl band of tretinoin due to hydrogen bonding. The extent of drug loading and the solid-state interaction of tretinoin with the microparticles may be critical for drug release. Additional characterization of the drug products is necessary to understand the effect of the factors examined in this work on the bioavailability and efficacy of tretinoin gels. Published by Elsevier B.V.


    Khaled H Elfakhri, Mengmeng Niu, Priyanka Ghosh, Tannaz Ramezanli, Sam G Raney, Snober Ahmed, Daniel R Willett, Huzeyfe Yilmaz, Muhammad Ashraf, Ahmed S Zidan. Physicochemical and structural evaluation of microparticles in tretinoin topical gels. International journal of pharmaceutics. 2022 May 25;620:121748

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    PMID: 35427749

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