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Author(s): Aakanksha Sinha1, S. J. Daharwal*2

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    1University Institute of Pharmacy, Pt. Ravishanker Shukla University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India
    2University Institute of Pharmacy, Pt. Ravishanker Shukla University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India
    *Corresponding Author Email-

Published In:   Volume - 4,      Issue - 1,     Year - 2022

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Aakanksha Sinha, S. J. Daharwal (2022) Review on various analytical methodologies for Azithromycin. NewBioWorld A Journal of Alumni Association of Biotechnology,4(1):20-27.

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 NewBioWorld A Journal of Alumni Association of Biotechnology (2022) 4(1):20-27            


Review on various analytical methodologies for Azithromycin

Aakanksha Sinha and S. J. Daharwal*


University Institute of Pharmacy, Pt. Ravishanker Shukla University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India

*Corresponding Author Email-




Article history:


13 April 2022

Received in revised form

18 April 2022


28 April 2022



UV- Visible Spectrophotometer; HPLC;


Bioanalytical method


The azithromycin broad-spectrum macrolide antibiotic, is generally used to treat genitourinary, respiratory, and enteric infections. The development of analytical techniques and the different currently employed techniques for estimating azithromycin, both in pharmaceutical dose form or in bulk, are the primary focus of the current study. Analytical techniques are crucial for determining compositions as they allow us to employ state-of-the-art analytical equipment to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. Chromatographic, electrochemical, spectroscopic, and other methods can be used to analyse azithromycin. These methods aid in understanding key process factors and restricting the negative impact they have on accuracy and precision. Analytical technique development is required for maintaining high commercial product quality standards and to comply with rules and regulations. In response to the reference, regulatory bodies in various nations have developed policies and procedures for giving approval, authentication, and registration.


1. Introduction

The antibiotic azithromycin was developed in 1980 by the Yugoslav Pharmaceutical Firm Pliva, and it received medical approval in 1988 under the trade name Sumamed. It obtained a patent in 1981. It was initially authorised by the FDA in 1991 and is listed on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines (Greenwood et al. 2008). A broad-spectrum antibiotic with a significant amount of tissue penetration and an extended half-life is azithromycin (Pereyre et al. 2016). Macrolide antibiotics specifically bind to the 50S component of the ribosomes in the apicoplast and inhibit protein synthesis (Choemunng et al. 2010). Azithromycin is a 15-membered semi-synthetic antibiotic that belongs to a member of the macrolide family. Its azalactone ring is structurally distinct from erythromycin in that it contains methyl-substituted nitrogen at position C-10, which increases azithromycin's activity by 15 times compared to erythromycin at position C-9 (Mallah et al. 2011). Erythromycin A was converted into azithromycin by treating it with hydroxylamine hydrochloride, a base, and methanol at reflux temperature for 10 hours to produce oxime. The oxime was separated, purified, and then Beckmann's rearrangement was performed on it in aqueous acetone for two hours at 50 degrees in order to produce the intermediary (6,9-iminoether). With the help of sodium borohydride in methanol or by catalytic hydrogenation in the presence of platinum dioxide and acetic acid as solvents, the iminoether was reduced to the secondary amine (Djokić et al. 1986). IUPAC name of azithromycin (2R, 3S, 4R, 5R, 8R, 11R, 13S, 14R)-11-(2S, 3S, 4S, 6R)-4-(dimethyl amino)- 3-hydroxy-6-methyltetrahydro-2H-pyran-2-yl)oxy)-2-ethyl-3,4,10- trihydroxy-13-(2R, 4R, 5S, 6S)-5-hydroxy-4-methoxy-4,6-dimethyltetrahydro-2H-pran-2-yl)oxy)-3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 14- hexamethyl-1-oxa-6- azacyclopentadecan-15-one (PubChem). Patients with acute bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, and otitis media have reported success with it. It is extremely efficient against skin and soft tissue infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and upper and lower respiratory tract infections (Chen et al. 2007).

1.1 Physicochemical Properties:

Figure 1: Chemical structure of Azithromycin

A crystalline powder that is white, tasteless, and odourless and has the chemical formula C38H72N2O12. Almost insoluble in water, azithromycin is easily soluble in methylene chloride and anhydrous ethanol has an average molecular weight of 748.9845 g/mol and an ionisation constant of 7.34 (Babić et al. 2007, EP 2005).

DOI: 10.52228/NBW-JAAB.2022-4-1-5

1.2 Pharmacodynamic properties:

By preventing protein synthesis and translation, macrolides treat bacterial infections by preventing growth of bacteria. Azithromycin has been used in chronic respiratory inflammatory illnesses for this reason because it also has additional immunomodulatory properties (Marvig et al. 2012).

1.3 Pharmacokinetic properties:

Azithromycin has a 37% bioavailability after oral ingestion. Food has little impact on absorption. P-glycoprotein (ABCB1) efflux transporters are thought to mediate macrolide absorption in the intestines. A primary route of elimination for azithromycin is biliary excretion, primarily as unchanged medication. Over the course of one week, roughly 6% of the prescribed dose gets found in urine as an unmodified medication (Pereyre et al. 2006). Half-life for terminal elimination is 68 hours. In humans, the serum protein binding varies, ranging from 51% at 0.02 g/mL to 7% at 2 g/ml. It causes renal and liver damage (Singlas et al. 1995).

1.4 Approved dosage form of Azithromycin:

The available dosage form in the market along with the brand name, active pharmaceutical ingredients and concentration are presented in Table 1.

2. Need of Analytical method:

Analytical technique advances are incorporated into official test procedures. Therefore, these methods are used by quality control laboratories to assess the functionality, identity, purity, safety, and efficacy of medication products. Regulatory authorities find the analytical methods utilised in production to be of the utmost importance and utility. For regulatory authorities to approve the medication, the applicant must demonstrate control over the entire drug development process using recognised analytical techniques (Ravisankar et al. 2015). The ICH has published analytical guidelines papers for stability testing (Q1), validation of analytical procedures (Q2), contaminants in drug substances and products (Q3), and specifications for new drug substances and products (Q6) (Breaux et al. 2003).

3. Analytical Method Development by UV Spectrophotometer:

UV-visible spectroscopy is the study of interactions between matter and electromagnetic radiation in this range of wavelengths. The ultraviolet's (UV) wavelength ranges from 200 to 400 nanometres (FJ et al. 2004). It is based on the Beer-Lambert rule, which states that the absorbance of a solution and its path length are directly related. It can therefore be used to determine the absorber concentration in a solution for a specific path length. Understanding how quickly absorbance changes with concentration is crucial (Verma et al. 2018). Table 2 includes a few of the examples.

4. Analytical method development by HPLC

High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is by far the most widely used separation technique and one of the most well-established analytical processes. It has been used in laboratories all around the world for more than 40 years for a variety of purposes, including pharmaceutical sciences, clinical chemistry, food and environmental assessments, synthetic chemistry, etc. (Zotou et al. 2012). In this method, the stationary phase could be a liquid or a solid. Using a liquid mobile phase, the components of a combination can be separated using HPLC. The term HPLC describes liquid chromatography in which the liquid mobile phase is mechanically pumped through the column while the stationary phase is contained in a column (Yandamuri et al. 2013).  The column is the vibrating heart of HPLC systems. A good silica and binding method will result in a repeatable and symmetrical peak, which is necessary for accurate certification. Examples of frequently utilised RP columns include C18 (USP L1), C8 (USP L8), Phenyl (USP L11), and Cyno (USP L18) (Ravisankar et al. 2014). Researchers usually use an HPLC to create the procedure. Table 3 provides examples of some of those.

5. Analytical Method Development Using HPTLC Method

Both qualitative and quantitative tasks response positively to the powerful analytical method HPTLC (Sharma et al. 2008). Depending on the type of adsorbents used on the plates and the development solvent system, partition, adsorption, or both processes may be to blame for separation. The many components of HPTLC fundamentals include theory, instrumentation, implementation, optimisation, validation, automation, and qualitative and quantitative analysis (Ambati et al. 2021). Table 4 displays the variations between TLC and HPTLC. The method is often developed by researchers using an HPTLC. Examples of a few of those are given in Table 5.





Table 1: Azithromycin formulations with brand Name and Concentrations

S. No.

Drug Formulation


Route of administration

Brand Name



600 mg


Act Azithromycin



250 mg










1 % w/w





500 mg/4.8mL




Powder, for suspension

100 mg / 5 mL




Powder, for solution

200 mg / 5 mL




Table no: 2 Analytical method development using UV spectrophotometer

S. No.

Sample / Dosage form

Method / Instrument model

Solvent / Solution





Shimadzu UV-spectrophotometer, model 1800

Distilled water

Area under curve method 219-224 nm and 275-302 nm

(Gulhane et al. 2021)


Bulk powder and laboratory-prepared tablets

UV-VIS spectrometer


Direct measurement of absorbance method 482 nm and 224 nm

first derivative spectrophotometric method (475–490 nm) and (280–253 nm)

(El-Yazbi et al. 2020)



UV-Visible double beam spectrophotometer Shimadzu UV 1800


Simultaneous equation method 251 nm and derivative spectroscopic methods Zero order derivatives 251 nm, first order derivative spectroscopic method 245 nm

(Baig et al. 2015)



Double-beam Jasco-630 UV- Visible spectrophotometer


Simultaneous equation method 254 nm

(Magar et al. 2012)


Bulk Powder

UV/VIS double beam spectrophotometer (model 1800)

0.1N HCl

pH 6.8 phosphate buffer

Simultaneous vierodt’s estimation method equation 298 nm

(Malhotra et al. 2021)


Bulk powder

Double-beam UV/Visible spectrophotometer

Bidistilled water

475 nm

(Omara et al. 2014)



UV/Vis-1800 double beam UV/Visible spectrophotometer


Second order derivative spectra 326.4 nm

(Shah et al. 2012)



Shimadzu 1601 UV visible spectrophotometer


482 nm

(Haleem et al. 2006)





Table 3. Analytical method development using HPLC method

S. No.


Stationary phase/column

Mobile phase

Wavelength (nm)

Flow rate (ml/min)

RT (min)




Octadecylsilyl amorphous organosilica polymer, column 25 cm x 4.6 mm

a. 0.18 per cent w/v solution of anhydrous disodium hydrogen phosphate with the pH adjusted to 8.9 with dilute orthophosphoric acid or with dilute sodium hydroxide solution

b. mixture of 25 volumes of methanol and 75 volumes of acetonitrile




(IP 2010)



C18 column (100 mm x 4.6 mm, 5 μm particle size)

Methanol: Toluene: 100mMpotassium dihydrogen phosphate buffer (60:30:10, v/v/v)




(Afzal et al. 2016)



Hypersil GOLD C-18 column packed with deactivated silica (250 mm x 4.6 mm x 5 µm)

Ammonium acetate solution: acetonitrile (18:82, v/v)

210 nm



(Abou et al. 2017)


Bulk and Tablet

Xterra C18 column (150 ×4.6 mm; 5µ)

Acetonitrile and phosphate buffer (pH adjusted to 7.5) in a ratio of 50:50 v/v




(Dewan et al. 2013)


Bulk and Tablet

Kromasil C18

Ortho Phosphoric Acid buffer and Methanol in the ratio of 70:30 v/v




(Gundala et al. 2014)


Bulk and Tablet

ODS-3 (250 mm ×4.6 mm x 5 μm)

Methanol: Phosphate buffer (9:1, v/v)




(Al-Hakkani et al. 2019)



C18 (250 mm × 4.6 mm, 5 μ) column

Phosphate buffer: Methanol (pH adjusted to 5.0 with ortho phosphoric acid)




(Hinge et al. 2015)



C18 column (250 mm x 4.6 mm id, 5 µm particle size)

Methanol: potassium dihydrogen phosphate buffer (60:40, v/v




(Kamble et al.2015)


Bulk and pharmaceutical formulation

supleco C18 (25cm×4.6 mm, 5 µm)

80:20 Na2HPO4: Methanol




(Nagaraju et al. 2018)



Hypersil C18 column (250×4.6 mm, 5μ)

Phosphate buffer(pH-3.5) and acetonitrile in the ratio of 45:55%v/v




(Padmavathi et al. 2015)



LiChroCART® 125×4.6 mm

Mixture of buffer, acetonitrile and methanol (60:20:20) a




(Zubata et al. 2002)



C18 phenomenex Gemini 5m, 250cm x 4.6mm

Acetonitrile and mono basic potassium phosphate buffer of pH 8.5 in the ratio of 65:35 v/v




(Raja et al. 2010)


Bulk and tablet dosage

Xterra RP-18 column (250 × 4.6 mm ID, 5 mM)

Water: methanol (63:37% v/v)




(Sahoo et al. 2015)



Hypersil- keystone C18 (250 X 4.60 mm), 5µm column

Buffer Potassium dihydrogen Phosphate: Acetonitrile (pH 7.5 adjusted with ortho phosphoric acid).




(Sahu et al. 2015)



Xterra RP18 (250 mm × 4.6 mm, 5 µm)

Acetonitrile–dipotassium phosphate (30 mM) (50:50, v/v) (pH 9.0)




(Shaikh et al. 2008



C18 column, 4.6×150mm, 5µm

Ammonium acetate buffer pH 6 ±0.02 pH and methanol (30:70 %v/v)




(Vennela et al. 2014)


Table 4. Major Differences between TLC and HPTLC (Gunjal et al. 2022)











Lab made


Mean particle size

10-12 µm

5-6 µm

Layer thickness

250 µm


Plate height

30 µm

12 µm

Solid support

Silica gel, Alumina, Kieselguhr

Silica gel-Normal Phase C8 and C18-reverse phase

Spotting of sample

Manual (Capillary/Pipette)


Volume of sample


0.1-0.5 µL


10-15 cm

3-5 cm

Separation time

20-200 min

3-20 min

Analysis time


Storage migration distance and the analysis time is greatly reduced


Not possible

Use of UV/visible/fluorescence scanner


Table 5. Analytical Method Development Using HPTLC Method

S. No.


Stationary Phase/ Column

Mobile phase






Aluminium plates precoated with silica gel 60F254

Ethyl acetate: methanol: acetone: toluene: ammonia (1:5:7:0.5:0.5, v/v)


(Gawande et al. 2018)



Aluminium plates precoated with silica gel 60F254

Chloroform: ethanol :25% ammonia 6:14:0.2 (v/v/v)


(Bouklouze et al. 2017)



Aluminium plates precoated with silica gel 60F254

Methanol: ethyl acetate: toluene: ammonia (30%) 4.5:3.5:2:0.4%v/v/v/v


(Raval et al. 2014)







The focus of the study has primarily been on the various analytical techniques used to estimate azithromycin as well as medicines in bulk form. The development of analytical techniques such as UV spectrophotometry, HPLC, HPTLC, and RP-HPLC has been the focus of research. The developed analytical procedures have better levels of automation and sample throughput and are more sensitive, dependable, reproducible, and precise. A literature review is conducted to gather data on various analytical and instrumental analytical techniques. A unique analytical approach could be developed using such data.

Competing Interests

Authors report no conflict of interest concerning this review article.


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