A polymorphism is the existence of more than one crystal structure for a certain material. Most pharmaceuticals are produced in solid form, but can vary significantly in their efficacy due to the presence of polymorphic forms. This existence of multiple structures can occur for a number of reasons, such as differences in formulation or storage. For example, if the solid-state form of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is a crystalline material, an amorphous solid or a solvate can impact the drug’s properties, such as the dissolution rate, solubility and bioavailability.
The solid-state properties of drug formulations must be properly understood in order to reliably produce the optimal form of a drug during the clinical trials phase of drug development. Further research to advance knowledge of pharmaceutical polymorphs can lead to improved drug properties, making polymorph screening technology an important area for development.