Chitosan is a polymer derived from chitin that is widely available at relatively low cost, but due to compression
challenges it has limited application for the production of direct compression tablets. The aim of this study was to use certain
process and formulation variables to improve manufacturing of tablets containing chitosan as bulking agent. Chitosan
particle size and flow properties were determined, which included bulk density, tapped density, compressibility and moisture
uptake. The effect of process variables (i.e. compression force, punch depth, percentage compaction in a novel double
fill compression process) and formulation variables (i.e. type of glidant, citric acid, pectin, coating with Eudragit S®) on
chitosan tablet performance (i.e. mass variation, tensile strength, dissolution) was investigated. Moisture content of the
chitosan powder, particle size and the inclusion of glidants had a pronounced effect on its flow ability. Varying the percentage
compaction during the first cycle of a double fill compression process produced chitosan tablets with more acceptable
tensile strength and dissolution rate properties. The inclusion of citric acid and pectin into the formulation significantly
decreased the dissolution rate of isoniazid from the tablets due to gel formation. Direct compression of chitosan
powder into tablets can be significantly improved by the investigated process and formulation variables as well as applying
a double fill compression process.
Keywords: Chitosan, composite index, compression, powder flow, tablets, tensile strength.
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