Ibuprofen Stearate Group Affects the Process of Drug Production in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – People are undoubtedly familiar with the term of ibuprofen in the world of health. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that functions as a pain reliever, as well as reducing inflammation, fever, and aches from the flu. In the market, this drug is often found in the form of syrups, capsules, and tablets.

Tablets are solid drug preparation and widely used by the public because they can be obtained at relatively affordable prices and simple so that it is easy to carry anywhere. Every day, the pharmaceutical industry can supply millions of tablets or capsules of ibuprofen to the public. In achieving this production target, solid formulation and precise production processes are needed.

However, obstacles often occur that often hamper the production of ibuprofen tablets. Departing from that problem, Prof. Dr. Dwi Setyawan, S.Sc., M.Si., Apt., With his colleague namely Dr. Dewi Isadiartuti, M.Si., Apt., Along with two of their students, Diajeng Putri Paramita, S.Farm., Apt., M.Si., and Sita Desti Bestari, S.Farm., Apt. decided to find out the constraints on the tablet production process in the pharmaceutical industry.

Moreover, after reviewing the literature as well as laboratory experiments, a lecturer in the Department of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy (FF), Universitas Airlangga found the results that the existence of the stearate group which is generally used as a lubricant in the formulation of ibuprofen is the cause of production hindrance.

“The stearate group results in eutectic events or decreases in the melting point to a lower level due to the interaction of ibuprofen with stearate. If tablet manufacturing avoids the use of this class, the production process can run more smoothly, “said the man who also works as a formulation consultant in the pharmaceutical industry.

The reduced melting point will result in the formulation of ibuprofen becoming liquid. That is what causes tablet compression, or capsule filling is inhibited. Therefore, ibuprofen tablets and capsules should avoid stearate so that production runs smoothly and then uses other types of lubricants, such as talk or aerosil.

“If the production process does not go well, then the quality of the drugs will go wrong and will not pass quality control. In fact, every drug production could reach hundreds of millions. Nobody has researched this, so many problems in the pharmaceutical industry were overcome by trial and error, “said Vice Dean II of FF UNAIR.

He said, making tablets or capsules should have a formula that consists of active ingredients, excipients, binders, crushing agents, fillers, and lubricants. It is intended that tablets or capsules can be destroyed when entering the body and then dissolve to cause pharmacological effects (efficacy) for patients. Besides that, a reliable formula will guarantee a fast and precise production process. (*)

Author: Nabila Amelia

Editor    : Khefti Al Mawalia

Source :

Dwi Setyawan, Dewi Isadiartuti, Sita Desti Betari, Diajeng Putri Paramita. 2016. Physical Characterization of Ibuprofen-Stearic Acid Binary Mixture Due to Compression Force. Indonesian Journal of Pharmacy, Vol 27 No 1.  


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