Extractables and Leachables in Pharma: What You Need to Know

July 14, 2023
Extractables and Leachables in Pharma: What You Need to Know
Extractables and Leachables in Pharma: What You Need to Know

Extractables and Leachables in Pharma: What You Need to Know

When it comes to releasing pharmaceutical items to the market, one of the most important tasks is determining the purity of the final product, which necessitates determining its impurity profile. Previously, this primarily applied to contaminants resulting from the manufacturing and degradation of medicinal products. It is now necessary to examine the migration of mobile chemical species from components used in the manufacturing and storage of pharmaceutical goods.

The interactions between various manufacturing components, drug delivery devices, container-closure systems (CCS), and the final pharmaceutical product are becoming increasingly important to regulatory bodies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The goal is to discover and evaluate any toxicological concerns that may occur as a result of such interactions.

"Medicine product containers and closures shall not be reactive, additive, or absorptive in order to affect the safety, identity, strength, quality, or purity of the drug beyond official or established criteria," the FDA previously said. As a result, extractables and leachables (E&L) studies are now an important part of the product release process.

What are Extractables?

Extraction studies are carried out to determine the danger of materials. These investigations are often carried out utilizing aggressive solvent conditions such as acidic, basic, organic, and aqueous solvents as well as soxhlet or rapid solvent extraction. It is critical that the material of interest is not deformed throughout the extraction process. "Extractables" are compounds found in the ensuing extracts. Extractables studies are commonly used to construct a "worst-case scenario" and to aid material selection and risk assessment early on.

What are Leachables?

Chemical species that leach into a product under typical product, application, or storage circumstances are known as leachables. There is usually enough overlap that the leachables can be considered a subset of the extractables. By assessing the drug formulation after exposure to increased temperature, forced or accelerated leachable tests may be done to determine leachables that migrate under simulated environmental circumstances.

New components may be present if the leachable interacts with the drug product or packaging materials. These are called secondary leachables. Buffers, surfactants, fillers, and other excipients are frequently used in drug formulations. Because of this intricacy, secondary leachables are occasionally discovered only after extensive stability testing during the average medication shelf life.

Designing an Extractable Study

The components under research are removed from the medicinal product during isolation. The number of components and material kinds to be examined as well as the solvents to use for extractions are important factors to consider.

The number of components in simple storage systems, such as glass ampoules or plastic bottles with screw tops, will be restricted. More complex equipment, such as pump dispensers with O-rings and springs, will have several components that must be investigated. At this point, secondary and tertiary packing must also be addressed.

To guarantee a representative pool of organic and inorganic extractable species is created, extractions should be done with a variety of solvents of variable solvating power. In the case of liquid formulations, those chosen should best mimic the composition of the pharmaceutical product to provide a worst-case extractables profile.

The use of solvents that are too strong is discouraged. This may result in the destruction of component materials, resulting in an unreasonably high number of extractables.

Typically, two or three solvents are selected, although more might be employed if necessary.

Designing a Leachable Study

Prior to starting E&L research, time points are pre-determined and the study can be done concurrently with a stability experiment.

Leachables, including those identified during the extractables research and any novel species discovered during the leachables investigation, are tested in samples. Those who surpass the SCT are identified and their toxicity is analyzed.

The production and storage of adequate controls and leachables samples are critical to successful research. The control sample should be carefully labeled and stored in such a way that there is no risk of leachable infiltration. Inks and adhesives should not be used directly on the container. Storage conditions (e.g. 4°C, 25°C/60 percent RH, 40°C/75 percent RH) and whether the leachables samples should be stored inverted or upright (e.g. bottles fitted with caps or lids) should be considered for the leachables samples.

Learn More

The stages involved in an E&L risk assessment are detailed and regulators will demand a risk-based approach to compliance. Typical extractables from various types of plastics will be outlined and risk factors for glass erosion will be examined to aid a risk-based strategy.

If you are a regulatory professional, are engaged in the pharmaceutical industry, or work in a capacity related to extractables and leachables, Keynotive’s latest masterclass may be of interest to you.

Extractables and Leachables in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: A Risk-based Approach is a live two-day masterclass conducted by Keynotive, in partnership with Dr. Mark Powell, Director of Mark Powell Scientific Limited.

Dr. Powell is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) with over thirty years of experience as a senior analytical chemist. This masterclass will allow interested participants to learn from Dr. Powell’s vast experience as well as make valuable connections and get any questions answered by the expert himself.

Interested in Extractables and Leachables in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: A Risk-based Approach? Sign up today! Spots are limited.