Asenapine, an atypical antipsychotic agent, has been approved for the acute and maintenance treatment of schizophrenia and manic episodes of bipolar disorder. However, the extensive hepatic metabolism limits its oral bioavailability. Therefore, the objective of the current investigation was to develop sublingual film containing asenapine to enhance the therapeutic efficacy. Sublingual films containing asenapine were fabricated using polyethylene oxide and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose by solvent casting method. Design of experiment was used as a statistical tool to optimize the proportion of the film-forming polymers in order to establish the critical quality attributes of the drug formulation. The process was studied in detail by assessing risk of each step as well as parameters and material attributes to reduce the risk to a minimum. A control strategy was defined to ensure manufacture of films according to the target product profile by evaluation of intermediate quality attributes at the end of each process step. Results of optimized formulations showed rapid disintegration, adequate folding endurance, good percentage elongation, tensile strength, and viscosity. Besides, the results from the in vitro dissolution/ex vivo permeation studies showed rapid dissolution (100% in 6 min) and higher asenapine permeation (~ 80% in 90 min) through the sublingual epithelium. In vivo study indicates greater asenapine absorption (31.18 ± 5.01% of administered dose) within 5 min and was comparable with marketed formulation. In summary, the designing plan to develop asenapine formulation was successfully achieved with desired characteristics of the delivery tool for sublingual administration.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.