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Dissolution study of active pharmaceutical ingredients using molecular dynamics simulations with classical force fields

Journal of Crystal Growth
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2014.07.046
  • A1. Computer Simulation
  • A1. Surfaces
  • Chemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Physics


Abstract The CHARMM, general Amber and OPLS force fields are evaluated for their suitability in simulating the molecular dynamics of the dissolution of the hydrophobic, small-molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients aspirin, ibuprofen, and paracetamol in aqueous media. The force fields are evaluated by comparison with quantum chemical simulations or experimental references on the basis of the following capabilities: accurately representing intra- and intermolecular interactions, appropriately reproducing crystal lattice parameters, adequately describing thermodynamic properties, and the qualitative description of the dissolution behavior. To make this approach easily accessible for evaluating the dissolution properties of novel drug candidates in the early stage of drug development, the force field parameter files are generated using online resources such as the SWISS PARAM servers, and the software packages ACPYPE and Maestro. All force fields are found to reproduce the intermolecular interactions with a reasonable degree of accuracy, with the general Amber and CHARMM force fields showing the best agreement with quantum mechanical calculations. A stable crystal bulk structure is obtained for all model substances, except for ibuprofen, where the reproductions of the lattice parameters and observed crystal stability are considerably poor for all force fields. The heat of solution used to evaluate the solid-to-solution phase transitions is found to be in qualitative agreement with the experimental data for all combinations tested, with the results being quantitatively optimum for the general Amber and CHARMM force fields. For aspirin and paracetamol, stable crystal–water interfaces were obtained. The (100), (110), (011) and (001) interfaces of aspirin or paracetamol and water were simulated for each force field for 30ns. Although generally expected as a rare event, in some of the simulations, dissolution is observed at 310K and ambient pressure conditions.

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