Crushed Tablets: Does the Administration of Food Vehicles and Thickened Fluids to Aid Medication Swallowing Alter Drug Release?
Purpose. To evaluate the influence of co-administered vehicles on in vitro dissolution in simulated gastric fluid of crushed immediate release tablets as an indicator for potential drug bioavailability compromise. Methods. Release and dissolution of crushed amlodipine, atenolol, carbamazepine and warfarin tablets were tested with six foods and drinks that are frequently used in the clinical setting as mixers for crushed medications (water, orange juice, honey, yoghurt, strawberry jam and water thickened with Easythick powder) in comparison to whole tablets. Five commercial thickening agents (Easythick Advanced, Janbak F, Karicare, Nutilis, Viscaid) at three thickness levels were tested for their effect on the dissolution of crushed atenolol tablets. Results. Atenolol dissolution was unaffected by mixing crushed tablets with thin fluids or food mixers in comparison to whole tablets or crushed tablets in water, but amlodipine was delayed by mixing with jam. Mixing crushed warfarin and carbamazepine tablets with honey, jam or yoghurt caused them to resemble the slow dissolution of whole tablets rather than the faster dissolution of crushed tablets in water or orange juice. Crushing and mixing any of the four medications with thickened water caused a significant delay in dissolution. When tested with atenolol, all types of thickening agents at the greatest thickness significantly restricted dissolution, and products that are primarily based on xanthan gum also delayed dissolution at the intermediate thickness level. Conclusions. Dissolution testing, while simplistic, is a widely used and accepted method for comparing drug release from different formulations as an indicator for in vivo bioavailability. Thickened fluids have the potential to retard drug dissolution when used at the thickest levels. These findings highlight potential clinical implications of the addition of these agents to medications for the purpose of dose delivery and indicate that further investigation of thickened fluids and their potential to influence therapeutic outcomes is warranted.
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