The poor aqueous solubility of many active pharmaceutical ingredients presents challenges for effective drug delivery. In this study, the combination of attenuated total reflection (ATR)-FTIR spectroscopic imaging with specifically designed polydimethylsiloxane microfluidic devices to study drug release from pharmaceutical formulations has been developed. First, the high-throughput analysis of the dissolution of micro-formulations studied under flowing conditions has been introduced using a model formulation of ibuprofen and polyethylene glycol. The behaviour and release of the drug was monitored in situ under different pH conditions. In contrast to the neutral solution, where both the drug and excipient dissolved at a similar rate, structural change from the molecularly dispersed to a crystalline form of ibuprofen was characterised in the obtained spectroscopic images and the corresponding ATR-FTIR spectra for the experiments carried out in the acidic medium. Further investigations into the behaviour of the drug after its release from formulations (i.e., dissolved drug) were also undertaken. Different solutions of sodium ibuprofen dissolved in a neutral medium were studied upon contact with acidic conditions. The phase transition from a dissolved species of sodium ibuprofen to the formation of solid crystalline ibuprofen was revealed in the microfluidic channels. This innovative approach could offer a promising platform for high-throughput analysis of a range of micro-formulations, which are of current interest due to the advent of 3D printed pharmaceutical and microparticulate delivery systems. Furthermore, the ability to study dissolved drug in solution under flowing conditions can be useful for the studies of the diffusion of drugs into tissues or live cells.

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