Effect of Excipients on the Quality of Drug Formulation and Immediate Release of Generic Metformin HCl Tablets
Generic medications are bioequivalent to brand-name medications, but the quality and purity of generic medications are still debatable. The aim of this study was to compare the generic product of metformin (MET) to its branded counterpart using pure MET powder as a reference. Quality control tablet assessment and in vitro evaluation of drug release were carried out in various pH media. Additionally, several analytical methods and thermal techniques were used, namely differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR), and confocal Raman microscopy. The results showed a significant difference between the two products. In terms of friability assessment, mean resistance force, and tablet disintegration, the generic MET product showed significant weight loss, higher mean resistance force, longer disintegration time, and a slower rate of drug release. In addition, DSC and TGA showed that the generic product had the lowest melting point and the least weight loss compared to the branded product and pure powder. XRD and SEM demonstrated some changes in the crystallinity structure of the molecule particles for the generic product. Additionally, FTIR and confocal Raman revealed the same peaks and band shifts in all samples, but with differences in the intensity for the generic tablet only. The observed differences could be due to the use of different excipients in the generic product. The possibility of forming a eutectic mixture between the polymeric excipient and metformin in the generic tablet was presumed, which might be attributed to alterations in the physicochemical properties of the drug molecule in the generic product. In conclusion, using different excipients might have a significant effect on the physicochemical properties of drugs in generic formulations, leading to significant changes in drug release behavior.