Quality control analysis of student-generated pharmaceutical capsules

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Journal of Chemical Education


Pharmacists, although not practicing chemists, often use skills and knowledge obtained in chemistry courses that are essential for success in their profession. This is especially apparent when preparing prescriptions for drugs that do not have a commercially available dosage form. Some well-publicized events indicate the potency of these drugs is often incorrect and can result in serious side effects and even death. These errors result because pharmacists are not always aware of the concentration of drug found in a prepared dosage form. In this experiment, students generate capsules and analyze them using spectophotometric techniques to determine the potency of the capsule content. This experiment is appropriate for any chemistry course where quantitative analysis using spectroscopy is taught and also explores the challenges of creating homogeneous solid mixtures. Students learn the challenges of preparing pharmaceuticals and are surprised at the failure rate among practicing pharmacists and their own work. The experiment emphasizes the requirement for good technique in preparation of homogeneous solid mixtures and utilizes ultraviolet spectroscopy to determine the quality of their product. Copyright © 2010 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.

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