2016 Volume 64 Issue 8 Pages 1099-1107
In drug formulations for external application, variations in the state of pharmaceutical agents within the base formulation may affect the transfer of agents to the skin. Here, we use Raman spectroscopic methods to acquire more detailed information on the state of the active pharmaceutical ingredients within an externally applied formulation. The combination of wide-field Raman spectroscopy with an experimental method in which drug formulations are applied to glass surfaces provided a new method for characterizing the state of pharmaceutical agents within drug formulations. Here, we demonstrate the usefulness of this new method, called application to glass–wide-field Raman spectroscopy (AG-WRS). In addition to allowing rapid and easy wide-field observations, the use of WRS allows Raman imaging in a manner that is insensitive to variations in the thickness of the formulations applied to sample slides. We consider two types of urea-compound creams with different crystal deposition rates, using AG-WRS to characterize the post-application time-evolving state of deposited crystals. Differences in the base pharmaceutical produce different spectra for the deposits, indicating that the deposits differ in composition and structure. In addition, we use microscopic laser Raman measurements to demonstrate that the process of crystal formulation differs significantly for formulations with different compositions. Our results demonstrate that the combination of AG-WRS with existing analytical techniques such as powder X-ray diffraction or thermal analysis yields more detailed and timely post-application information on the state of pharmaceuticals in external application. We believe this will be a valuable analytical tool for future studies related to the development of external application.