Tribology is an emerging technique in the pharmaceutical field for texture and mouthfeel studies. Due to its relevance to oral sensory perception, tribology supports the development of novel products in the food industry. This study explores tribology as a tool to optimise the mouthfeel and ease of swallowing of pharmaceutical coatings and coated tablets. We measured the lubricating properties of eight pharmaceutical coatings using two methods: surface tribology and thin film tribology. As food science is more advanced in texture and mouthfeel studies, methods were developed from this field with the intention to mimic tablet ingestion. Further, the link between tribological measurements and the sensory evaluation of the coated tablets obtained by a human panel was explored. We have demonstrated that discrimination of tablets with different coatings using tribology is feasible. The viscosity, solubility and composition of the coating formulations played an important factor in lubrication. For the first time, tribology was used to analyse the lubricating properties of conventional tablet coatings and a linear relationship between tribology and the oral sensory perception, i.e. slipperiness and stickiness, was demonstrated. Tribology has the potential to become a valuable formulation tool to characterise the lubricating behaviour of coated tablets in the context of oral sensory perception.
- coefficient of friction
- tablet coating