Challenges in detecting magnesium stearate distribution in tablets

Satu Lakio, Balázs Vajna, István Farkas, Henri Salokangas, György Marosi, Jouko Yliruusi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


Magnesium stearate (MS) is the most commonly used lubricant in pharmaceutical industry. During blending, MS particles form a thin layer on the surfaces of the excipient and drug particles prohibiting the bonding from forming between the particles. This hydrophobic layer decreases the tensile strength of tablets and prevents water from penetrating into the tablet restraining the disintegration and dissolution of the tablets. Although overlubrication of the powder mass during MS blending is a well-known problem, the lubricant distribution in tablets has traditionally been challenging to measure. There is currently no adequate analytical method to investigate this phenomenon. In this study, the distribution of MS in microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) tablets was investigated using three different blending scales. The crushing strength of the tablets was used as a secondary response, as its decrease is known to result from the overlubrication. In addition, coating of the MCC particles by MS in intact tablets was detected using Raman microscopic mapping. MS blending was more efficient in larger scales. Raman imaging was successfully applied to characterize MS distribution in MCC tablets despite low concentration of MS. The Raman method can provide highly valuable visual information about the proceeding of the MS blending process. However, the measuring set-up has to be carefully planned to establish reliable and reproducible results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-444
Number of pages10
JournalAAPS PharmSciTech
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 11 2013


  • Raman spectroscopy
  • blending
  • lubricant
  • magnesium stearate
  • scale-up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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  • Cite this

    Lakio, S., Vajna, B., Farkas, I., Salokangas, H., Marosi, G., & Yliruusi, J. (2013). Challenges in detecting magnesium stearate distribution in tablets. AAPS PharmSciTech, 14(1), 435-444.