BACKGROUND: Frovatriptan is a potent anti-migraine agent with unfavorable slow onset of action, available on the market as film-coated tablets.
OBJECTIVE: Optimization, by Quality by Designs strategies, of an orally disintegrating tablet (ODT) formulation of frovatriptan aimed to make its oral administration easier and its dissolution faster than the commercial tablets, thus improving its effectiveness in migraine management.
METHOD: A screening D-optimal design was applied to investigate the effects of different levels of kind and amount of ODT special excipient and disintegrant agents (identified as the critical variables) on disintegration time (DT) and % drug dissolved at 30 s (%Diss), selected as the responses to optimize. The best excipients combination, emerged by the screening step, was in-depth investigated by a Response Surface Methodology.
RESULTS: A design space was defined where every combination of the selected variables fulfilled the required values for the responses with P ≥ 95%. In particular, the optimized formulation (Pharmaburst® 60% and Na alginate 15%), showed DT = 1.62±0.08 s and %Diss= 9.02±0.47%, with good agreement between measured and calculated values. Moreover, the developed ODT complied with the USP uniformity weight and drug content requirements, exhibited proper hardness and low friability, and provided 100 % dissolved drug within 5 min.
CONCLUSIONS: A frovatriptan ODT formulation was successfully developed by Quality by Design. It represents an effective alternative to conventional tablets, allowing easier oral administration (also to paediatric and geriatric people) and very faster drug dissolution, enhancing patient compliance and facilitating an earlier treatment of migraine attacks.