Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Bradley D. Anderson


Supersaturating Drug Delivery Systems (SDDS) could enhance oral bioavailability of poorly water soluble drugs (PWSD). Precipitation inhibitors (PIs) in SDDS could maintain supersaturation by inhibiting nucleation, crystal growth, or both. The mechanisms by which these effects are realized are generally unknown. The goal of this dissertation was to explore the mechanisms underpinning the effects of model PIs including hydroxypropyl β-cyclodextrins (HP-β-CD), hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) on the crystal growth of indomethacin, a model PWSD. At high degrees of supersaturation (S), the crystal growth kinetics of indomethacin was bulk diffusion-controlled, which was attributed to a high energy form deposited on the seed crystals. At lower S, indomethacin growth kinetics was surface integration-controlled. The effect of HP-β-CD at high S was successfully modeled using the reactive diffusion layer theory. The superior effects of PVP and HPMC as compared to HP-β-CD at high S were attributed to a change in the rate limiting step from bulk diffusion to surface integration largely due to prevention of the high energy form formation. The effects of PIs at low S were attributed to significant retardation of the surface integration rate, a phenomenon that may reflect the adsorption of PIs onto the growing surface. PVP was selected to further understand the relationship between adsorption and crystal growth inhibition. The Langmuir adsorption isotherm model fit the adsorption isotherms of PVP and N-vinylpyrrolidone well. The affinity and extent of adsorption of PVP were significantly higher than those of N-vinylpyrrolidone, which was attributed to cooperative interactions between PVP and indomethacin. The extent of PVP adsorption on a weight-basis was greater for higher molecular weight PVP but less on a molar-basis indicating an increased percentage of loops and tails for higher molecular weight PVPs. PVP significantly inhibited indomethacin crystal growth at high S as compared to N-vinylpyrrolidone, which was attributed to a change in the growth mechanism resulting in a change in the rate limiting step from bulk diffusion to surface integration. Higher molecular weight PVPs were better inhibitors than lower molecular weight PVPs, which was attributed to a greater crystal growth barrier provided by a thicker adsorption layer.