Permitted Daily Exposure for Diisopropyl Ether as a Residual Solvent in Pharmaceuticals
Toxicological Research 2018;34:111−125
Published online April 15, 2018;
© 2018 Korean Society of Toxicology.

Luca Romanelli1, and Maria Grazia Evandri2

1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Vittorio Erspamer, University of Rome Sapienza, Rome, Italy, 2Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco (AIFA), Rome, Italy
Luca Romanelli, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Vittorio Erspamer, University of Rome Sapienza, Rome, Italy, E-mail:
Received: September 13, 2017; Revised: January 29, 2018; Accepted: February 5, 2018
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Solvents can be used in the manufacture of medicinal products provided their residual levels in the final product comply with the acceptable limits based on safety data. At worldwide level, these limits are set by the “Guideline Q3C (R6) on impurities: guideline for residual solvents” issued by the ICH. Diisopropyl ether (DIPE) is a widely used solvent but the possibility of using it in the pharmaceutical manufacture is uncertain because the ICH Q3C guideline includes it in the group of solvents for which “no adequate toxicological data on which to base a Permitted Daily Exposure (PDE) was found”. We performed a risk assessment of DIPE based on available toxicological data, after carefully assessing their reliability using the Klimisch score approach. We found sufficiently reliable studies investigating subchronic, developmental, neurological toxicity and carcinogenicity in rats and genotoxicity in vitro. Recent studies also investigated a wide array of toxic effects of gasoline/DIPE mixtures as compared to gasoline alone, thus allowing identifying the effects of DIPE itself. These data allowed a comprehensive toxicological evaluation of DIPE. The main target organs of DIPE toxicity were liver and kidney. DIPE was not teratogen and had no genotoxic effects, either in vitro or in vivo. However, it appeared to increase the number of malignant tumors in rats. Therefore, DIPE could be considered as a non-genotoxic animal carcinogen and a PDE of 0.98 mg/day was calculated based on the lowest No Observed Effect Level (NOEL) value of 356 mg/m3 (corresponding to 49 mg/kg/day) for maternal toxicity in developmental rat toxicity study. In a worst-case scenario, using an exceedingly high daily dose of 10 g/day, allowed DIPE concentration in pharmaceutical substances would be 98 ppm, which is in the range of concentration limits for ICH Q3C guideline class 2 solvents. This result might be considered for regulatory decisions.

Keywords : Diisopropyl ether, Residual solvent, ICH Q3C guideline, Permitted daily exposure, Risk assessment


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