Characterization of two polymorphs of salmeterol xinafoate crystallized from supercritical fluids

Henry H.Y. Tong, Boris Yu Shekunov, Peter York, Albert H.L. Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. To characterize two polymorphs of salmeterol xinafoate (SX-I and SX-II) produced by supercritical fluid crystallization. Methods. SX-I and SX-II were crystallized as fine powders using Solution Enhanced Dispersion by Supercritical Fluids (SEDS). The two polymorphs and a reference micronized SX sample (MSX) were characterized using powder X-ray diffractometry (PXRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), aqueous solubility (and dissolution) determination at 5-40°C, BET adsorption analysis, and inverse gas chromatography (IGC). Results. Compared with SX-I, SX-II exhibited a lower enthalpy of fusion, a higher equilibrium solubility, a higher intrinsic dissolution rate, a lower enthalpy of solution (based on van't Hoff solubility plots), and a different FTIR spectrum (reflecting differences in intermolecular hydrogen bonding). Solubility ratio plot yielded a transition temperature (∼99°C) below the melting points of both polymorphs. MSX showed essentially the same crystal form as SX-I (confirmed by PXRD and FTIR), but a distinctly different thermal behaviour. Mild trituration of SX-I afforded a similar DSC profile to MSX while prolonged grinding of SX-I gave rise to an endotherm at ∼109°C, corresponding to solid-solid transition of SX-I to SX-II. Surface analysis of MSX, SX-I, and SX-II by IGC revealed significant differences in surface free energy in terms of both dispersive (nonpolar) interactions and specific (polar) acid-base properties. Conclusions. The SEDS-processed SX-I and SX-II display high polymorphic purity and distinctly different physical and surface properties. The polymorphs are related enantiotropically with SX-I being the thermodynamically stable form at room temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-858
Number of pages7
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Physical properties
  • Polymorphic purity
  • Salmeterol xinafoate polymorphs
  • Solubilities
  • Supercritical fluid crystallization
  • Surface energetics


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