What Are the Different Types of Stability Studies?

Stability studies ensure your products maintain their quality, safety, and efficacy throughout their shelf life

by | Feb 11, 2023

Yellow pharmaceutical capsules

Credit: Pixabay

Stability studies are generally performed on pharmaceutical products, food and beverages, and beauty and cosmetic products as well as ingredients in each to evaluate how they are affected by external factors such as light, heat, humidity, temperature, stress, etc. to determine how these factors influence these products. These studies assess how a product’s quality, safety, and efficacy are affected by environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and light over time. Understanding the different types of stability studies is essential for ensuring product integrity throughout its shelf life.

Types of Stability Studies

  1. Real-Time Stability Studies:

    • Purpose: Real-time stability studies evaluate the product under recommended storage conditions for its intended shelf life.
    • Method: Products are stored at specified conditions (e.g., 25°C and 60% RH for pharmaceuticals) and tested at predetermined intervals.
    • Advantages: Provides the most accurate prediction of a product’s shelf life and stability.
    • Limitations: Time-consuming, as it requires the full duration of the product’s intended shelf life to complete.
  2. Accelerated Stability Studies:

    • Purpose: Accelerated stability studies assess the product’s stability under elevated stress conditions to predict its shelf life more quickly.
    • Method: Products are stored at higher temperatures and humidity levels (e.g., 40°C and 75% RH for pharmaceuticals) and tested at shorter intervals.
    • Advantages: Provides faster results, helping to identify potential stability issues and reduce time to market.
    • Limitations: May not always accurately predict real-time stability, especially for products sensitive to stress conditions.
  3. Forced Degradation Studies:

    • Purpose: Forced degradation studies identify potential degradation pathways and the intrinsic stability of a product by exposing it to extreme conditions.
    • Method: Products are subjected to severe stress conditions such as high temperatures, strong acids or bases, oxidation, and UV light.
    • Advantages: Helps to understand the degradation mechanisms and develop stability-indicating analytical methods.
    • Limitations: Conditions may be too harsh and not reflective of normal storage conditions, potentially overestimating degradation rates.
  4. Shelf-Life Extension Studies:

    • Purpose: Shelf-life extension studies evaluate whether the shelf life of an existing product can be extended beyond its current expiry date.
    • Method: Products nearing the end of their shelf life are subjected to real-time or accelerated stability studies to determine if they remain within acceptable quality limits.
    • Advantages: Helps to extend product shelf life, reducing waste and costs.
    • Limitations: Limited to products already close to their expiry date and may not be applicable for all products.
  5. In-Use Stability Studies:

    • Purpose: In-use stability studies assess the stability of a product after it has been opened or prepared for use, ensuring it remains effective and safe during its intended usage period.
    • Method: Products are tested under conditions that simulate actual use, such as repeated opening/closing, exposure to air, or reconstitution in a solvent.
    • Advantages: Ensures product stability and safety throughout its usage period, providing crucial information for end users.
    • Limitations: Specific to the intended use conditions, and may not apply to unopened products.

Key Considerations in Stability Studies

  • Environmental Conditions: Stability studies must consider the relevant environmental conditions, including temperature, humidity, and light exposure, based on the product’s intended storage and use.
  • Analytical Methods: Robust and validated analytical methods are essential for accurately assessing the stability of products and identifying degradation products.
  • Regulatory Guidelines: Stability studies must adhere to regulatory guidelines and requirements specific to the industry and product type, such as ICH guidelines for pharmaceuticals.
  • Packaging: The impact of packaging materials on product stability should be evaluated, as packaging can protect against environmental factors and extend shelf life.
  • Data Analysis: Comprehensive data analysis and statistical evaluation are crucial for interpreting stability study results and making informed decisions about product shelf life.


Stability studies are vital for ensuring the quality, safety, and efficacy of products throughout their shelf life. By understanding and implementing various types of stability studies, manufacturers can predict product behavior under different conditions, comply with regulatory requirements, and ultimately deliver safe and effective products to consumers. Whether through real-time, accelerated, forced degradation, shelf-life extension, or in-use stability studies, these evaluations play a critical role in product development and lifecycle management.

Cosmetic brushes and products

Credit: Pixabay

Contract Laboratory has received many test requests from companies and organizations looking for stability testing like the following:

  • Packaging laboratory needed for Plastics and Polymers testing of HDPE bottles for stack load stability testing and wall thickness
  • University research scientist needs a UK laboratory for drug compound testing during stability testing of Standard mouse chow. Chow was formulated using the compound to a final concentration of 750 mg of drug per kg of chow. In order to verify and establish formulation stability, we need the drug concentration in the pellets to be measured over the period of 6 months. We need an initial measurement to be taken (starting point) and then at least 2 more measurements; at the 3-month point and the 6-month point.
  • A large corporation needs materials laboratory needed for UV stability testing of HDPE: orange colored HDPE sheath in which we have to check for UV stability of that sheath & life of the sheath
  • Europe Product Safety laboratory needed for new cream testing for introduction into the EU and international markets including Safety assessment, stability testing, microbial contamination testing, challenge test, shelf life prediction, and any other tests deemed necessary.
  • Cosmetics Laboratory needed for Cosmetics Stability Testing and Safety Assessment Tests including compatibility and challenge testing.
  • Nutraceutical Laboratory needed for stability testing for vitamin packets to be sold in new water formulation. The company is in the process of getting products into large chain stores and needs stability testing.
  • View more stability test requests

If you are a product manufacturer or other organization needing stability testing, contact us for more information or submit an online test request.


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