Establishment of new preparation method for solid dispersion formulation of tacrolimus

Kazunari Yamashita, Toshiomi Nakate, Kazuto Okimoto, Atsuo Ohike, Yuji Tokunaga, Rinta Ibuki, Kazutaka Higaki, Toshikiro Kimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

291 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to establish a new preparation method for solid dispersion formulation (SDF) of tacrolimus, a poorly water-soluble drug, without dichloromethane, because no use of dichloromethane is recommended by ICH harmonized tripartite guideline. To select the appropriate carrier, three different SDFs with polyethylene glycol 6000 (PEG 6000), polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC) were prepared by the conventional solvent method, in which tacrolimus and the carrier were completely dissolved in the mixture of dichloromethane and ethanol. Powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) patterns indicated that tacrolimus exists in an amorphous state in all three SDFs. The supersaturated dissolution profiles of tacrolimus were observed in all SDFs, and the highest level of supersaturation for tacrolimus was obtained and maintained for 24h from SDF with HPMC. On the other hand, the supersaturated level from SDF with PEG 6000 or PVP decreased rapidly. The in vivo oral absorption study in dogs showed that bioavailability of tacrolimus from SDF with HPMC was remarkably improved compared with the crystalline powder. It was clarified that HPMC is the most appropriate carrier for SDF of tacrolimus. Then, SDF of tacrolimus was prepared by the new method, which allows us to make SDF of tacrolimus by swelling HPMC with ethanol, in which tacrolimus was completely dissolved. This new method does not need dichloromethane. The physicochemical properties of SDF with HPMC prepared by the new method were the same as those of SDF prepared by the conventional solvent method. Furthermore, SDF with HPMC prepared by the new method was still stable after stored at 40°C for 3 months. The pharmacokinetic parameters after oral administration in monkeys showed no significant difference (P>0.01) between SDFs with HPMC prepared by the two methods. In conclusion, we have established the new preparation method for SDF of tacrolimus with HPMC and the new method makes it possible to prepare SDF of tacroliumus without dichloromethane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-91
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 28 2003


  • Differential scanning calorimetry
  • Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose
  • Oral administration
  • Powder X-ray diffraction
  • Solid dispersion formulation
  • Supersaturation
  • Tacrolimus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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