A chemometric approach based on the combined use of the principal component analysis (PCA) and artificial neural network (ANN) was developed for the multicomponent determination of caffeine (CAF), mepyramine (MEP), phenylpropanolamine (PPA) and pheniramine (PNA) in their pharmaceutical preparations without any chemical separation. The predictive ability of the ANN method was compared with the classical linear regression method Partial Least Squares 2 (PLS2). The UV spectral data between 220 and 300 nm of a training set of sixteen quaternary mixtures were processed by PCA to reduce the dimensions of input data and eliminate the noise coming from instrumentation. Several spectral ranges and different numbers of principal components (PCs) were tested to find the PCA-ANN and PLS2 models reaching the best determination results. A two layer ANN, using the first four PCs, was used with log-sigmoid transfer function in first hidden layer and linear transfer function in output layer. Standard error of prediction (SEP) was adopted to assess the predictive accuracy of the models when subjected to external validation. PCA-ANN showed better prediction ability in the determination of PPA and PNA in synthetic samples with added excipients and pharmaceutical formulations. Since both components are characterized by low absorptivity, the better performance of PCA-ANN was ascribed to the ability in considering all non-linear information from noise or interfering excipients.
2011 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan