Polymorphism of Clarithromycin

  • Published : 2000.08.01


It is well recognized that physicochemical properties of drugs are affected by the type of polymorphic crystalline form of drugs. Clarithromycin is known to exist in at least three polymorphic crystalline forms. Since conventional means to obtain the most thermodynamically stable form (Form II) for the antibiotics is known to be associated with a low purity of the stable form, we developed a novel method to improve the purity of the crystalline form by a modification of the preparation process. The new method involved a simple recrystallization of clarithromycin in solvents having 5-12 carbon atoms (e.g., hexane and heptane) or ethers with 4-10 carbon atoms (e.g., isopropyl ether) and, thus, less likely to be associated with the problem in purity of resulting crystal. Differential scanning calorimetry and powder X-ray diffraction were used to compare the crystalline form of the resultant powder with Form IIcrystal prepared by the conventional method. The crystal prepared by the new method was identical to Form IIcrystal of the conventional method as evidenced by the lack of the exothermic peak near 11$0^{\circ}C$ in differential calorimetry scan, indicating that Form IIcrystal could be readily prepared by the new process. Therefore, these data indicated that the improvement in the purity of the Form IIcrystal for clarithromycin as well as a significant cost reduction is likely by the novel method.