Taste masking approaches

Effective taste and odor masking has been shown to have a marked effect on patient compliance, especially for specialized patient populations such as pediatrics and geriatrics. We have utilized our drug design and formulation expertise to develop an array of effective taste-masking approaches, the choice of which is dependent upon API parameters, target product profile and the commercial objectives of your specific compound.

Taste masking is typically accomplished in one of three ways:

  1. Using sweeteners, flavors, and viscosity modifiers to manipulate the perception of taste without changing the concentration of free drug in solution
  2. Preferentially binding the drug to a substrate that reduces the free-drug concentration, ideally below the taste threshold
  3. Applying functional coatings that modify the release of the drug, keeping the free-drug concentration below the taste threshold for a time period relevant to the preparation and administration of the dose

Our product development teams use all three approaches dependent on the specific application, however, the third option is typically the most effective in our experience.  

During development, a risk-based formulation approach is used to select the proper excipients, evaluating all market-accepted materials with established safety data, at levels that achieve the desired dosage form performance and stability.

Taste and odor masking expertise

A combination of formulation approaches, such as the use of a matrix multiparticulate technology, e.g. extruded / spheronization or lipid multiparticulates (LMP), combined with functional coating and encapsulation, is often utilized.

Initial quality control metrics include:

  • The amount of active released over an appropriate time in a volume of the main excipient that is relevant to preparation and administration of the product
  • The amount of active released over an appropriate time in the main excipient that is relevant to the time the product is in the mouth

Armed with the initial characterization data and the target product profile, the optimal taste masking strategy and dosage form are selected. Multiple approaches may be required. The ultimate goal is to select a formulation that is stable, ideally preservative-free, and amenable to flexible, uniform dosing for a broad range of patient populations.

Taste masking with coatings

We use a wide range of functional coatings to achieve both modified release and taste masking for monolithic or multiparticulate dosage forms:

  • pH-triggered (enteric, reverse enteric)
  • Time releasing (bursting)
  • Lipid-based (LMPs)

As part of finding an effective taste-masking approach, we work in close collaboration with customers to identify the key components of the target product profile, addressing such issues as:

  • Equivalent performance compared to previous formulations
  • The use of suitable, safe excipients that are accepted by the market
  • The ideal release profile for the target patient population

We continue to find that a combination of approaches, often utilizing multiparticulates and encapsulation, offer a robust approach to taste masking of bitter actives.

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