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Compounded Dispersion Formulations, Part II

Amir H. Shojael, Pharm D, PhD

Summary Review of Part I
When one considers that most compounded prescriptions are forms of dispersed systems, it becomes imperative to grasp a thorough understanding of the theory and technology behind pharmaceutical dispersions. Part I of this article described dispersed systems and the effects of improper compounding of dispersions on the bioavailability and stability of products.

Coarse Dispersions
Based on the particle-sized classification, coarse dispersions have mean particle diameters of greater than 100 nm. Most pharmaceutical suspensions and emulsions are coarse dispersions.

Suspensions
As defined by the [US Pharmacopeia] USP, “suspensions are liquid preparations consisting of solid particles dispersed throughout a liquid phase in which the particles are not soluble.”1 Because of the larger particle size, suspensions behave differently than colloidal dispersions. Particles dispersed in a suspension are large enough to be affected by the gravitational force. Therefore, they settle in the bottom of the container and form a sediment unless they are stirred. Over time, the sediment may form a hard cake at the bottom of the container if no added measures are taken to prevent caking. If caking does occur, the process is irreversible and the product must be discarded at that point.

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