Journal of pharmaceutical sciences 2017 05 10106(8) 2173-2177 pii 10.1016/j.xphs.2017.05.004
Current presentations of the anti-HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir make appropriate dosing for children difficult. We conducted a feasibility study to develop a formulation for these drugs with child-safe excipients in a flexible dosage form for children across the pediatric age spectrum. The freeze-drying in blister approach was used to produce fast-dissolving tablets (FDTs), as these can be dispersed in fluids for easy administration, even to infants, and appropriate portions of the dispersion can be given for different ages/weights. We combined various ratios of polymers, surfactants, and bulking agents to incorporate the 2 highly hydrophobic drugs while maintaining drug stability, rapid disintegration, and good handling properties. The final FDT was robust and disintegrated in 0.5 mL of fluid in 10 s with up to 4 tablets dissolving in 2 mL to achieve varying doses accommodated in a common teaspoon. Drug recovery after dissolution in small volumes of liquid or fluid foods was 90%-105%. The final candidate FDT was stable at 40°C, 75% relative humidity for up to 3 months. FDTs are a promising flexible dosage form for antiretroviral treatment for pediatric patients, especially in low-resource settings.