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Common Tablet Problems And Solutions

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There are varieties of problems that face the pharmaceutical world, some of which we will be discussing as well as solutions that would help solve these problems.

  • Overwetting of the tablets/Surface pitting. This is where suspension droplets hit the still wet tablet and the drying air does not dry it enough.
  • Physical damages overloading or unloading operation.
  • Poor tablet design – flat surfaces.
  • Spray Drying. The suspension droplets hit the tablet after the moisture has been removed. This leads to the poor adherence of the coat.

Colour Variation

  • Causes and Solutions:
    • Less coats applied – increase the coating.
    • Inadequate tablet mixing during the coating process- increase the pan speed or improve the baffle system.
    • The solid content of coating liquid is high – decrease the solid content of the coating liquid.
    • Not enough spray guns – increase the number of the spray guns.
    • Poor spray pattern bed distribution – check and make sure that the gun position is correct and that the bed coverage is correct.
    • Slow pan speed – increase the pan speed.

Twinning

  • Causes and Solutions:
    • High spray rate – decrease the spray rate while increasing the efficiency atomizing.
    • Slow pan speed – increase the span speed.
    • Incorrect tablet shape – choose a new tablet shape to prevent the probability of flat surfaces coming in contact during coating application.
    • Tacky coating formula – reformulate the suspension.
    • Spray gun is close to the tablet bed – increase the distance of the gun to the bed.

Cracking

  • Causes and Solutions:
    • Not enough plasticizer/pigmentation or low mechanical strength for coating – check the formulation and improve the mechanical strength characteristics.
    • The core has different thermal expansion than coating – avoid the use of mineral type as fillers whenever possible (ex: carbonate, calcium sulphate).
    • Extended core elastic recovery after submitting it for compaction – extend the holding period of the tablet before the coating process.

Peeling

  • Causes and Solutions:
    • Short mechanical strength of coating – choose the formulation with improved strength.
    • Poor adhesion properties of coating to the tablet surface – choose the formulation with improved adhesion features.
    • Extra lubricant use in the formulation – choose an excipient with excellent lubricating properties such as Starch 1500.

Orange Peel Roughness

  • Causes and Solutions:
    • High viscosity of the coating solution – decrease the solid content of the coating liquid.
    • Poor atomization of the coating liquid – increase the atomizing air pressure or volume.

Logo Bridging

  • Causes and Solutions:
    • Not enough adhesion of the film coating – choose the formulation that would improve the adhesion characteristics.
    • Product’s surface characteristics – reformulate the core formulation to include more coating, hydrophilic ingredients when possible.
    • Inappropriate logo design – choose a different logo design
    • Insufficient plasticizer in the film or high internal stress – decrease the spray rate while increasing the drying rate.

Picking/Sticking

  • Causes and Solutions:
    • High spray rate – decrease the spray rate.
    • Improper drying condition – increase the drying condition.
    • Slow pan speed – increase the pan speed rate.
    • Insufficient atomization of coating – increase the atomizing air pressure and volume liquid.
    • Improper distribution of coating liquid – choose the formula that would improve the adhesion characteristics.

LOGO Infilling

  • Causes and Solutions:
    • Inapt logo design (too fine or detailed) – choose a different logo design.
    • Disappearance or erosion of logo design due to the tablet surface – decrease the potential of erosion by reformulating the core, changing the logo or modifying the tablet’s surface.
    • Logo bridging – see solution provided for logo bridging.
    • In-filling of the logo with spray dried coating material – decrease the spray drying by:
      • Decreasing atomizing air pressure
      • Decreasing distance between the spray gun and tablet bed surface
      • Decreasing inlet air flow or air temperature
      • Increasing spray rate

Core Erosion

  • Causes and Solutions:
    • High friability rate/inherent softness – improve the mechanical strength core through:
      • increasing the core impaction force
      • Modifying the core formulation
      • Changing the core process
    • High pan speed during coating process – decrease the pan speed.
    • Insufficient solid content in the spray – choose formulation with high solid solution.
    • Low spray rate – increase the spray rate.
    • Untimely swelling of the hydrophilic disintegrant in the formulation – switch the super disintegrant with less hydrophilic super disintegrant ex: Starch 1500.

Edge Chipping/Erosion

  • Causes and Solutions:
    • Low mechanical strength of coating – choose the formulation with improved mechanical strength.
    • Unwarranted pan speed – reduce pan speed.
    • Low solid content in the coating liquid – increase the solid content.
    • Low spray rate – increase the spray rate.
    • Sharp tablet edges – modify the tablet punch design.
    • Worn tablet punches – replace or refurbish tablet punches.
      • Low tablet friability/hardness – modify the mechanical strength of the core through increase of the compaction force.
      • Modify tablet shape.
      • Reformulate tablet formulation.
      • Change the process how the core is produced.

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