Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

H Thomas Karnes


In vitro dissolution, release and permeation testing is a common practice during drug product research and development. These in vitro tests, if predictive, are referred to as biorelevant tests and can play diverse roles to facilitate and expedite product development in a cost effective manner. Oral transmucosal products (OTPs) are currently tested using compendial and modified in vitro tests which may or may not be good predictors of in vivo performance due to a lack of biorelevance. A critical need for a broadly applicable and biorelevant in vitro system for OTPs has been expressed in the literature and the goal of this research was the development and validation of a biorelevant in vitro method that can facilitate accurate prediction of the in vivo behavior of OTPs. A combined strategy of appropriate apparatus design and relevant physiological and in vitro variable adjustment was investigated to incorporate biorelevance into evaluation of OTPs. A novel in vitro device, the bidirectional transmucosal apparatus (BTA), was designed and fabricated which allowed simulation of the oral cavity and its physiological variables to evaluate OTPs in a more realistic fashion. The BTA was tested using snus (a type of smokeless tobacco) as the OTP product. A simple and selective high performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) method with photodiode array (PDA) detection was developed and validated to assess in vitro nicotine release and permeation (Linearity: 0.5 – 32 μg/mL; calibration curve accuracy (%recovery, n=5 ): 97.98-103.20%; calibration curve precision (%RSD, n=5): 0.15-3.14%). The performance of BTA was compared with the modified USP IV flow through apparatus (USP IV) and a commercially available vertical diffusion cell (VDC). The observed in vitro in vivo relationship (IVIVR) slopes with the USP IV, VDC and BTA were 0.27, 2.01 and 2.11 respectively. The BTA was selected over the VDC and USP IV devices because of better simulation and adjustment of variables to incorporate biorelevance in the test of OTPs. Additionally, the BTA allows study of permeation and release simultaneously unlike VDC and USP IV apparatuses. Further, the different BTA parameters were sequentially screened for their impact on in vitro rate of nicotine permeation that can be employed for the optimization of IVIVR for snus. Based on the results, stimulated saliva swallowing rate (SSSR) and media temperature were considered as significant factors affecting in vitro permeation of nicotine and used to further optimize IVIVR for snus. A 32 multifactorial experimental design integrating SSSR (0.32, 1.66 and 3 mL/min) and media temperature (25, 37 and 45 °C) was employed. Based on the response surface analysis, 0.55 mL/min SSSR and 43 °C media temperature were identified as optimal BTA conditions that would give perfect IVIVR (i.e. IVIVR slope close to one) for snus. The experimental value of IVIVR slope (0.92) at these optimal conditions indicated that the BTA is a valid in vitro system for evaluation of OTPs in a biorelevant manner. The applicability of BTA for predicting nicotine permeation from ‘Stonewall’, a dissolvable compressed tobacco was also evaluated. However, comparable in vitro nicotine permeation and in vivo nicotine absorption profiles were not obtained (ratio of in vitro permeation to in vivo absorption rate ranged from 0.04 to 0.14 at different in vitro conditions) either due to the unavailability of reliable clinical data or due to inherently different in vivo behavior of Stonewall compared to snus that would require further modification in the BTA. In conclusion, this research demonstrated the potential of the novel in vitro device to be a valuable tool for the prediction of in vivo performance of snus. The application of the novel bidirectional transmucosal apparatus for other types of OTPs will be an interesting subject for further investigation.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2013