Comparison of spray congealing and melt emulsification methods for the incorporation of the water soluble salbutamol sulphate in lipid microparticles.

Context: Salbutamol sulphate is widely used as bronchodilator for the treatment of asthma. Its use is limited by the relatively short duration of action and hence sustained delivery of salbutamol sulphate offers potential benefits to patients.

Objective: This study explores the preparation of lipid microparticles (LMs) as biocompatible carrier for the prolonged release of salbutamol sulphate.

Materials and methods: The LMs were produced using different lipidic materials and surfactants, by classical melt emulsification-based methods (oil-in-water and water-in-oil-in-water emulsions) and the spray congealing technique.

Results: For the LMs obtained by melt emulsification a lack of release modulation was observed. On the other hand, the sustained release of salbutamol sulphate was achieved with glyceryl behenate microparticles prepared by spray congealing. These LMs were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffractometry and differential scanning calorimetry. The drug loading was 4.72% (w/w). The particle size distribution measured by laser diffraction and electrical zone sensing was represented by a volume median diameter (Dv50) of 51.7–71.4 µm. Increasing the atomization air pressure from 4 to 8 bar produced a decrease of the Dv50 to 12.7–17.5 µm.

Conclusions: Incorporation of the hydrophilic salbutamol sulphate into LMs with sustained release characteristics was achieved by spray congealing.