Manipulating Aggregation Behavior of the Uncharged Peptide Carbetocin

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Peptides are usually administered through subcutaneous injection. For low potency drugs, this may require high concentration formulations increasing the risk of peptide aggregation, especially for compounds without any intrinsic chargeable groups. Carbetocin was used as a model to study the behavior of uncharged peptides at high concentrations. Manipulation of the aggregation behavior of 70 mg/mL carbetocin was attempted by selecting excipients which interact with hydrophobic groups in carbetocin, and cover hydrophobic surfaces and interfaces. Peptide aggregation was induced by shaking stress and followed over time. Carbetocin solutions showed significant visible particle formation already after 4 h of shaking stress. This particle formation was not due to supersaturation or phase separation but suggested a nucleated aggregation process. None of the excipients prevented carbetocin aggregation, though altered aggregation behavior was observed, such as induction of fibril formation for most, but not all, charged excipients. Sodium dodecyl sulfate was found to accelerate peptide aggregation both below and above the critical micelle concentration in half-filled vials. However, in the absence of an air headspace, sodium dodecyl sulfate above the critical micelle concentration was capable of preventing shaking-induced carbetocin aggregation. Our study highlights the complexity in rational excipient selection to stabilize uncharged peptides at high concentration.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)838-847
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

ID: 191688476