Drug stability analysis by Raman spectroscopy

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Pharmaceutical drugs are available to astronauts to help them overcome the deleterious effects of weightlessness, sickness and injuries. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that some of the drugs currently used may degrade more rapidly in space, losing their potency before their expiration dates. To complicate matters, the degradation products of some drugs can be toxic. Here, we present a preliminary investigation of the ability of Raman spectroscopy to quantify mixtures of four drugs; acetaminophen, azithromycin, epinephrine, and lidocaine, with their primary degradation products. The Raman spectra for the mixtures were replicated by adding the pure spectra of the drug and its degradant to determine the relative percent contributions using classical least squares. This multivariate approach allowed determining concentrations in {~}10 min with a limit of detection of {~}4{%} of the degradant. These results suggest that a Raman analyzer could be used to assess drug potency, nondestructively, at the time of use to ensure crewmember safety.




Shende, C., Smith, W., Brouillette, C., & Farquharson, S. (2014). Drug stability analysis by Raman spectroscopy. Pharmaceutics, 6(4), 651–662. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics6040651

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