Will 3D inkjet printing enable the manufacture of personalized tablets?
Hatim Cader |
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing refers to processes where products are made layer-by-layer. One of these technologies, inkjet printing, has shown potential in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products, including solid oral dosage forms. Rather than using typical powder compression methods, tablets could be made by the deposition of micro-sized droplets, selectively jetted onto a substrate. These droplets, instead of containing a colored ink as in most inkjet systems, would instead contain a drug – and can be repeatedly deposited until a 3D product is created.
The conventional route for tablet manufacture is a long and multi-step process that is well-suited for the mass manufacture of tablets, but offers limited avenues for personalized medicine. For the latter, inkjet printing could have a major impact as it would be possible to offer complex therapies customized to individual patients with consideration to their age, gender, weight and medical condition. Personalization can come in the form of multiple drugs in a single tablet, patient-specific dosing and/or multiple or multifunctional materials for controlling drug release. The highly programmable nature of inkjet printing would make it easy to meet the personalized demands of custom therapies.
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