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Evaluation of 30-days stability of morphine hydrochloride and clonidine at high and low concentrations in polypropylene syringes


Objectives Clonidine is an alpha-2 adrenoreceptor agonist and is frequently combined with opioids (ie, morphine hydrochloride (HCl)) for the management of chronic pain. In palliative care, the administration of clonidine and morphine HCl is recommended in case of tolerance effect. This study aimed to evaluate the physical and chemical stability of this admixture at high and low concentrations in 14 and 48 mL polypropylene syringes.

Methods The stability of a low concentration admixture of clonidine (Catapressan 0.15 mg/mL, Boehringer Ingelheim, Germany) and morphine (morphine HCl 40 mg/mL, Sterop, Belgium) at 0.003 and 0.417 mg/mL, respectively, was evaluated by using five polypropylene syringes of 48 mL. The high concentration admixture consisted of 0.032 mg/mL clonidine and 4.286 mg/mL morphine HCl and was evaluated by using five polypropylene syringes of 14 mL. All syringes were stored for 30 days at 5°C±3°C. Periodic samples were visually and microscopically examined to observe any particle appearance or colour change. pH and absorbance at three wavelengths (350, 410 and 550 nm) were monitored. The concentrations were measured by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography—photodiode array detection.

Results During the 30 days, there was no change in colour or appearance of opacity, turbidity or precipitation, and pH remained stable. The low and high concentration admixtures were considered chemically stable since the lower limit of the 90% CI remained superior to 90% of the initial concentration. Concentration measurements showed that the degradation rate was less than 1% over 10 days for each component in both admixtures.

Conclusions The admixture of clonidine and morphine HCl at low and high concentrations in polypropylene syringes appeared to be physically and chemically stable throughout the study period of 30 days at 5°C±3°C. In conclusion, the admixture can be prepared in advance under aseptic conditions by a centralised intravenous additive service in the pharmacy department.

  • palliative care
  • pharmaceutical preparations
  • drug incompatibility
  • analytic sample preparation methods
  • pharmacy service
  • hospital

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. NA.

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