BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to a pharmaceutical packing or filling device, which comprises an extended or elongated hollow plastic body having an axial length and a cylindrical portion extending over at least part of the axial length, which is provided with an interior silicone lubricant layer in this cylindrical portion and which is tightly closed by a stopper. It also relates to a method of making this pharmaceutical packing or filling device.
1. Prior Art
In the pharmaceutical packing device comprising the extended hollow plastic body an elastomeric closing member, e.g. a piston or a piston stopper, is inserted in its hollow interior space, and is slidable in the extended hollow plastic body, bearing flexibly on its interior wall. Typical examples include plastic syringe cylinders for pre-filled syringes, injector devices for cylindrical ampoules and capsules, and also piston burettes in analytical chemistry applications.
In order to overcome various problems typically a silicone lubricant layer is provided on the interior wall of the hollow plastic body.
According to U.S. Pat. No. 4,767,414 and European Patent EP 0 201 915 B1 silicone oil is applied to the surface of the interior wall. In the method described in these references the surface is activated with ionizing plasma to obtain good adherence and the silicone oil applied to it is similarly treated with ionizing plasma.
This process is comparatively inconvenient. Also the silicone oil is comparatively non-reactive, i.e. free silicone oil, which is exposed to the contents of the hollow plastic body in operation of the piston. The introduction of the silicone oil in the human body in the case of injectors should be reduced to a minimum for known reasons. U.S. Pat. No. 4,844,986 describes a process for providing a silicone lubricant layer to the interior wall of the hollow plastic body by means of plasma polymerization for preparation of a coating of polydimethylsiloxane.
Also this process requires activation of the plastic surface and a multistep application process.
European Patent Document EP 0 329 041 describes a process for coating the interior wall of a hollow plastic body with a polysiloxane, or polysilane or polysilazane by means of an ionizing plasma, whereby an adherent layer of this material is first produced and then a thin lubricant layer is applied over it.
Also this process requires activation of the plastic surface and comprises many steps.
The same is true of the process described in EP 0 302 625 B1, according to which the surface of the interior wall of the hollow plastic body is first treated with plasma in order to obtain a plasma treated polymer surface. Then a layer of a polysiloxane lubricant is applied to that surface without plasma treatment. The polysiloxane lubricant is provided with a suitable predetermined surface tension so that it will wet the plasma treated surface completely.
Finally U.S. Pat. No. 5,338,312 describes a coating for the interior wall of a hollow plastic body, on which two lubricant layers are applied over each other, namely a base layer of silicone oil with a higher viscosity applied on the interior wall by means of an adhesive layer and a surface layer of silicone oil with a lower viscosity. The silicone oils of the individual layers are preferably cross-linked by means of ionized plasma.
Similarly expensive process engineering is required to provide the lubricant layers in this last process. Among other things, the surface layer contains much free, i.e. non-reactive, silicone oil.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the present invention to provide a pharmaceutical packing device of the above-described type comprising an extended or elongated hollow plastic body having a cylindrical portion extending over at least part of its axial length, which is provided with a silicone lubricant layer in this cylindrical portion and which is tightly closed by a stopper, which is structured so that it can be made in a simple manner by a single stage process and so that the contamination of the contents of hollow plastic body with silicone droplets is minimized.
It is also an object of the invention to provide a method of making the pharmaceutical packing device of the above-described type that is simple, that consists of a single stage process without contamination of the contents of the container with silicone droplets.
According to the invention the lubricant layer is made from a mixture of reactive silicone oil with non-reactive silicone oil.
The process for making the pharmaceutical packing device comprising the hollow plastic body that attains the above-described objects comprises the follow steps:
a) forming the hollow plastic body with known engineering methods;
b) preparing a mixture of reactive silicone oil with non-reactive silicone oil;
c) applying the mixture of the silicone oils to the interior wall of the hollow plastic body on the cylindrical portion of the hollow plastic body to form a preliminary or precursor layer with known methods;
d) cross-linking the mixed silicone oils in the preliminary layer to form the lubricant layer; and
e) processing the hollow plastic body provided with the lubricant layer according to its predetermined application. The principle feature of the invention thus is the use of a mixture of reactive silicone oil and non-reactive silicone oil. It is especially surprising that use of this type of mixture does not require activation of the surface of the hollow plastic body.
According to a preferred embodiment of the invention this occurs when the plastic material, from which the hollow plastic body is made, is a cycloolefin polymer or a copolymer (COC) and the mixture of silicone oils is applied immediately after the molding or forming of the hollow plastic body to its interior wall, while the hollow plastic body is still heated, preferably at a temperature over 40°C.
The invention permits the application of the silicone lubricant layer to the hollow plastic body in a single step process, which means without expensive activation of the surface or multistep application processes. The reactive silicone oil component forms an adherent base layer after the cross-linking, in which the partially non-reactive silicone oil component is locally embedded which provides the lubrication properties.
Reactive silicone oils contain reactive functional groups, which permit cross-linking to themselves and as needed with other surfaces, in contrast to non-reactive silicone oils.
Thus a separating and lubricating layer is formed between the container (hollow plastic body) and moving elastomeric component (stopper).
The structure of the layer is based on a siloxane molecule that contains functional groups according to its hardening mechanism according to its function.
Reactive silicone oil especially contain vinyl groups, which cross-link under the influence of heat (temperature) and ultraviolet radiation (UV). Particularly the cross-linking reaction is catalyzed by platinum compounds.
The hardened silicone oil then forms a solid film, which functions as a separating layer between the hollow plastic body and the piston-like stopper. Because of that a baking of the stopper, especially when it is made of bromobutyl, onto the COC surface of the hollow plastic body is prevented. Dimethylpolysiloxane may be admixed to the reactive silicone oil as a non-reactive silicone oil for reduction of the sliding friction.
A siliconizing agent based on a reactive silicone oil is preferably formed from vinyl-group-containing silicone oil, cross-linking agent, catalyst, solvent and non-reactive dimethylpolysiloxane having a viscosity of from 350 to 20000 cSt.
The use of a mixture of reactive and non-reactive silicone oil as lubricant is already known from U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,806,430 and 4,720,521. In the known case however only metal substrates, such as injector needles, razor blades or the like, were coated. The present invention in contrast comprises an improved pharmaceutical packing device provided with the above-described coating on its plastic surfaces. There is no suggestion in the prior art that the lubricant layer on the pharmaceutical container should be provided by the above-described method according to the invention. This type of coating has not previously been used in the field of coatings for plastic bodies.
Since the substrate of the invention is entirely different, the appropriate coating process is also expected to be entirely different, especially because the adherence properties of the layer on plastic are very different from the adherence properties on metal. For example, it is known that in the painting of automobiles the painting of the metallic chassis cannot be performed in the same manner as the painting of a plastic bumper that is typically made from polyolefin. The plastic container according to the invention furthermore comprises a permeable plastic in which components of the siliconizing agent can diffuse or wander into the plastic body and thus would no longer provide the required lubrication. This problem is not present in the case of impermeable metallic substrates in which those same components cannot diffuse according to the above-described prior art. Also in pharmaceutical products the hollow plastic body is tightly sealed by an elastomeric stopper. Silicone can be dislodged by the required sealing force or similarly can diffuse into the stopper, so that it would not be possible to slide the stopper after a long storage interval.
Finally the silicone material of the hollow plastic body is exposed to liquid contact during the entire storage time of the filled pharmaceutical packing device (which is up to 5 years), which is not the case for the products according to the state of the prior art.
The cylindrical portion of the hollow plastic body may be provided with the silicone lubricant layer over its entire axial length.
However special advantages can be derived from a selective application of the silicone oil over a predetermined axial distance on the cylindrical portion, i.e. when certain regions are not coated. Additional functions can result from this type of axial coating, for example by the selective coating of certain interior regions of a syringe cylinder in which a rubber piston slides. By not coating the rear end of the syringe cylinder over about 1 cm of axial length, the withdrawal of the rubber piston from this rear end of the syringe cylinder can be prevented. This selective coating thus allows the formation of a piston brake without great expense.
On the other hand it is also possible to leave a region of about one cm width at the head or top end of the syringe cylinder without a lubricant layer. Thus the reverse effect can be obtained: since in this region the piston encounters a higher frictional resistance, but the piston may be moved up to the front end of syringe cylinder on the provided lubricant layer. Because of the absence of the lubricant layer in the front region of the cylinder interior, it is no longer possible to move the piston back into the cylinder. Thus a non-reusable injection device is provided by this very simple technique.
A very tough reactive one-component silicone may be worked into a low viscosity, non-reactive silicone oil in a mixture according to the invention, since the latter acts as a diluent or thinning agent.
The invention provide definite process advantages in comparison to the state of the art as well as additional functions to the resulting product. Also contamination of the contents by silicone droplets is definitely reduced, for example during filing of one-time-usage syringes, since the content of free, i.e. non-reactive, silicone in the lubricant layer is lowered to a minimum according to the invention.
Additional advantages of the hollow plastic body according to the invention include:
a) The difference between static friction and sliding friction in the hollow plastic body according to the invention is not as great as in the known hollow body. Because of that compression forces required by comparatively high static friction forces, which can lead for example to jerky dispensing of the contents of the injector body are avoided.
b) Improved adherence of the lubricant layer on the surface of the interior wall of the injector body is obtained.
c) It is possible to reduce the otherwise conventional siliconization of the rubber stopper that is slidable in the cylindrical portion of the hollow plastic body to a minimum.
It has been proven that the lubricant layer according to the invention can be sterilized by standard methods (typically by a steam treatment in an autoclave at 121°C. for 20 minutes), and few silicone particles are found in the contents as a result of that treatment. Its properties have no limiting changes either before or after irradiation of the body provided with the lubricant layer by high energy radiation (γ-radiation, electron beam, high energy light flash, etc).