Methods To Determine the Silicone Oil Layer Thickness in Sprayed-On Siliconized Syringes
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The silicone lubricant layer in prefilled syringes has been investigated with regards to siliconization process performance, prefilled syringe functionality, and drug product attributes, such as subvisible particle levels, in several studies in the past. However, adequate methods to characterize the silicone oil layer thickness and distribution are limited, and systematic evaluation is missing. In this study, white light interferometry was evaluated to close this gap in method understanding. White light interferometry demonstrated a good accuracy of 93-99% for MgF2 coated, curved standards covering a thickness range of 115-473 nm. Thickness measurements for sprayed-on siliconized prefilled syringes with different representative silicone oil distribution patterns (homogeneous, pronounced siliconization at flange or needle side, respectively) showed high instrument (0.5%) and analyst precision (4.1%). Different white light interferometry instrument parameters (autofocus, protective shield, syringe barrel dimensions input, type of non-siliconized syringe used as base reference) had no significant impact on the measured average layer thickness. The obtained values from white light interferometry applying a fully developed method (12 radial lines, 50 mm measurement distance, 50 measurements points) were in agreement with orthogonal results from combined white and laser interferometry and 3D-laser scanning microscopy. The investigated syringe batches (lot A and B) exhibited comparable longitudinal silicone oil layer thicknesses ranging from 170-190 nm to 90-100 nm from flange to tip and homogeneously distributed silicone layers over the syringe barrel circumference (110- 135 nm). Empty break-loose (4-4.5 N) and gliding forces (2-2.5 N) were comparably low for both analyzed syringe lots. A silicone oil layer thickness of 100-200 nm was thus sufficient for adequate functionality in this particular study. Filling the syringe with a surrogate solution including short-term exposure and emptying did not significantly influence the silicone oil layer at the investigated silicone level. It thus appears reasonable to use this approach to characterize silicone oil layers in filled syringes over time. The developed method characterizes non-destructively the layer thickness and distribution of silicone oil in empty syringes and provides fast access to reliable results. The gained information can be further used to support optimization of siliconization processes and increase the understanding of syringe functionality.LAY ABSTRACT: Silicone oil layers as lubricant are required to ensure functionality of prefilled syringes. Methods evaluating these layers are limited, and systematic evaluation is missing. The aim of this study was to develop and assess white light interferometry as an analytical method to characterize sprayed-on silicone oil layers in 1 mL prefilled syringes. White light interferometry showed a good accuracy (93-99%) as well as instrument and analyst precision (0.5% and 4.1%, respectively). Different applied instrument parameters had no significant impact on the measured layer thickness. The obtained values from white light interferometry applying a fully developed method concurred with orthogonal results from 3D-laser scanning microscopy and combined white light and laser interferometry. The average layer thicknesses in two investigated syringe lots gradually decreased from 170-190 nm at the flange to 100-90 nm at the needle side. The silicone layers were homogeneously distributed over the syringe barrel circumference (110-135 nm) for both lots. Empty break-loose (4-4.5 N) and gliding forces (2-2.5 N) were comparably low for both analyzed syringe lots. Syringe filling with a surrogate solution, including short-term exposure and emptying, did not significantly affect the silicone oil layer. The developed, non-destructive method provided reliable results to characterize the silicone oil layer thickness and distribution in empty siliconized syringes. This information can be further used to support optimization of siliconization processes and increase understanding of syringe functionality.