3D-Printed Pills Opens up Possibilities to Customized Medicine

Published Date : Aug 05, 2015

3D printing technology is finding its application in several sectors. One of the most common application of the 3D printing technology is in the jewelry designing field. 3D printing technology allows to manufacture objects that are of a complicated design and with precision. Precision is especially important for auto components, hence 3D printed auto parts sector is expected to drive the overall 3D printing technology market. Another application of 3D printing is that of in the pharmaceutical sector.

Recently, the FDA approved the first 3D printing pill. This pill was made using a layered process that involved use of a 3D printer. This pill dissolves when it is taken with a liquid. The United States of Food and Drug Administration took a leap forward on Monday when it approved the nation’s first prescription drug manufactured via 3D printing technology. 

This pill is created by the firm Aprecia Pharmaceuticals and the drug is called Spritam. This pill is a dissolvable tablet used to treat specific types of seizures in children and adults that are affected with epilepsy. This printing technology is expected to allow the firm to customize each dose individually and no measuring or splitting will be involved.

The technology used to make this pill involves a feeding powder that is introduced via a computer controlled nozzle. This nozzle deposits thin layers in a circular pattern. Simultaneously, tiny drops of the binding liquid are added to each layer of the powder, which cause the materials to bond. Finally, the printer leaves many regular air gaps in the construction to provide the pill with a porous structure.

At present, several doctors are using personalized 3D printing technology to make implants for their patients that have injuries and are finding ways to apply this technology for other purposes such as printing the human tissue or even the entire organs. Few years back, a newborn was able to receive a 3D splint that helped keep his airways from collapsing.