Continuous Synthesis of Cinnarizine Salt with Malic Acid by Applying Green Chemistry Using Water-Assisted Twin Screw Extrusion

Jaydip M. Vasoya, Hung Lin Lee, Tu Lee, Abu T.M. Serajuddin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Organic solvent-free process or green chemistry is needed for manufacturing pharmaceutical salts to avoid various environmental, safety, and manufacturing cost issues involved. In this study, a cinnarizine (CNZ) salt with malic acid at a 1:1 molar ratio was successfully prepared by twin screw extrusion (TSE) with water assistance. The feasibility of salt formation was first evaluated by screening several carboxylic acids by neat grinding (NG) and liquid-assisted grinding (LAG) using a mortar and pestle, which indicated that malic acid and succinic acid could form salts with CNZ. Further studies on salt formation were conducted using malic acid. The examination by hot-stage microscopy revealed that the addition of water could facilitate the formation and crystallization of CNZ-malic acid salt even though CNZ is poorly water-soluble. The feasibility of salt formation was confirmed by determining the pH-solubility relationship between CNZ and malic acid, where a pHmax of 2.7 and a salt solubility of 2.47 mg/mL were observed. Authentic salt crystals were prepared by solution crystallization from organic solvents for examining crystal properties and structure by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, solid-state 13C and 15N nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and single-crystal X-ray diffraction (SXD). These techniques also established that a salt, and not a cocrystal, was indeed formed. The CNZ salt crystals were then prepared by TSE of a 1:1 CNZ-malic acid mixture, where the addition of small amounts of water resulted in a complete conversion of the mixture into the salt form. The salts prepared by solvent crystallization and water-assisted TSE had identical properties, and their moisture sorption profiles were also similar, indicating that TSE is a viable method for salt preparation by green chemistry. Since TSE can be conducted in a continuous manner, the results of the present investigation, if combined with other continuous processes, suggest the possibility of continuous manufacturing of drug products from the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to the production of final dosage forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5160-5172
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2023


  • cinnarizine
  • cinnarizine malate salt
  • continuous manufacturing
  • eutectic mixture
  • green chemistry
  • malic acid
  • pharmaceutical salt
  • twin screw melt extrusion
  • water-assisted salt synthesis


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