Three simple protocols for the extraction of acyclovir from its pharmaceutical creams based on ultrasonication, ultrasonication with heating and magnetic stirring were evaluated and compared. Extraction kinetics were studied at different time intervals (5, 10, 15, 30 and 60 min) and the extraction efficiency was determined by HPLC. The effect of concentration of aqueous NaOH as the extraction medium and the stirring speed were also studied and optimized. Best results were obtained with 50 mL of 0.01 mol L−1 aqueous NaOH with magnetic stirring speed of 500 r.p.m. HPLC analysis involved rapid separation of acyclovir from the cream matrix using a 100 × 4.6 mm i.d. monolithic column and UV detection at 254 nm. Magnetic stirring produced the best results in terms of extraction efficiency with an average extraction yield of 100.8%, n = 16 at an optimum extraction time of 15 min. The selected protocol was validated for within and day-to-day precision and ruggedness. <alternatives> [...] </alternatives>
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