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Types of Isomeric Impurities in Pharmaceutical Products

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Isomeric impurities are a type of impurity that can be present in pharmaceutical products. They are molecules that have the same chemical formula as the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), but differ in their chemical structure or stereochemistry. There are several types of isomeric impurities that can be present in pharmaceutical products:

  1. Structural isomers: These are isomers that have the same chemical formula but different chemical structures. For example, if the API contains a benzene ring and a methyl group, a structural isomer would be a molecule that has the same benzene ring and methyl group, but in a different arrangement.
  2. Stereoisomers: Stereoisomers are isomers that have the same chemical formula and chemical structure, but differ in the spatial arrangement of their atoms. Stereoisomers can be further divided into two categories:
  • Enantiomers: Enantiomers are mirror images of each other and have the same chemical and physical properties except for their interaction with polarized light. Enantiomers are designated as “R” or “S” based on their spatial arrangement relative to a chiral center.
  • Diastereomers: Diastereomers are stereoisomers that are not mirror images of each other. They have different chemical and physical properties and can be distinguished by their different melting points, boiling points, and solubilities.
  1. Tautomers: Tautomers are isomers that differ in the position of a proton and a double bond. They can exist in equilibrium with each other and can interconvert. Tautomers can have different chemical and physical properties and can impact the stability and efficacy of the pharmaceutical product.
  2. Conformational isomers: Conformational isomers are isomers that differ in the rotation around a single bond. They can exist in equilibrium with each other and can interconvert. Conformational isomers can have different chemical and physical properties and can impact the stability and efficacy of the pharmaceutical product.

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