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A flexible-dose dispenser for immediate and extended release 3D printed tablets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Katarzyna Pietrzak, Abdullah Isreb, Mohamed A Alhnan

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-387
Number of pages8
Issue numberOctober 2015
Early online date12 Aug 2015
Accepted/In press24 Jul 2015
E-pub ahead of print12 Aug 2015
Published1 Oct 2015


King's Authors


The advances in personalised medicine increased the demand for a fast, accurate and reliable production method of tablets that can be digitally controlled by healthcare staff. A flexible dose tablet system is presented in this study that proved to be suitable for immediate and extended release tablets with a realistic drug loading and an easy-to-swallow tablet design. The method bridges the affordable and digitally controlled Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) 3D printing with a standard pharmaceutical manufacturing process, Hot Melt Extrusion (HME). The reported method was compatible with three methacrylic polymers (Eudragit RL, RS and E) as well as a cellulose-based one (hydroxypropyl cellulose, HPC SSL). The use of a HME based pharmaceutical filament preserved the linear relationship between the mass and printed volume and was utilized to digitally control the dose via an input from computer software with dose accuracy in the range of 91-95%. Higher resolution printing quality doubled the printing time, but showed a little effect on in vitro release pattern of theophylline and weight accuracy. Physical characterization studies indicated that the majority of the model drug (theophylline) in the 3D printed tablet exists in a crystal form. Owing to the small size, ease of use and the highly adjustable nature of FDM 3D printers, the method holds promise for future individualised treatment.

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