Influence of drug load on dissolution behavior of tablets containing a poorly water-soluble drug: estimation of the percolation threshold.
Twenty matrix systems with different KCl content (as drug model, from 10 to 90% w/w) and Eudragit RS-PM (as inert excipient) were prepared using an ultrasound-assisted press and a traditional eccentric machine. The release behavior from both types of matrices was examined; the kinetic parameters for the release (intrinsic dissolution) and the technological properties of the final tablets (total porosity) were used to estimate the percolation threshold for the drug model and the excipient in both systems. For the systems compacted by ultrasound (US) the estimated value for the excipient percolation threshold ranges from 13.4 to 20.2% v/v (lower than that found for traditional tablets), that agrees with a continuum percolation model suggesting the presence of a continuum phase inside the tablet. This depends on a thermoplastic deformation of Eudragit RS-PM under ultrasound, that destroyed the particulate system of the excipient and transform it into a continuum medium. The percolation threshold for KCl ranged from 58.6 to 61.0% v/v for US and from 26.7 to 42.2% v/v for the traditional tablets. The higher value for ultrasound compacted tablets can be explained by the difficulty of KCl to outcome from a matrix containing insoluble phase that surrounds KCl crystals.