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FDA Approves 3D Printed Drug

3D Printed Drug

FDA’s approval of a 3D printed drug marks a step forward for both the power of 3D printing as well as the treatment of epilepsy.

In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Spritam. This 3D printed prescription drug is used to treat partial onset seizures, myoclonic seizures and primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures.

Now, Aprecia Pharmaceuticals have announced the availability of Spritam for the US market. The use of 3D printing technology is playing a big part in finding patient friendly forms of medication.

Don Wetherhold, CEO of Aprecia, told Forbes: “Spritam is designed to transform what it is like to take epilepsy medication, and is the first in a line of products we are developing to provide patients and their caregivers with additional treatment options.”

How does the 3D Printed Drug Work?

Thanks to ZipDose Technology, the company’s 3D printing technology, the pill easily disintegrates in the mouth with just a sip of water.

The benefit of this is that it is much easier for patients who find swallowing a pill difficult as a high-dose medication rapidly disintegrates. Aprecia’s ZipDose Technology uses formulation science along with 3D printing to do this.

The 3D technology was created at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1980s as a rapid prototyping technique and then expanded into tissue engineering and pharmaceuticals from 1993 to 2003.

As with most 3D printers, to create the 3D printed Spritam, all the elements are assembled layer-by-layer, meaning it does not require compression or traditional molding techniques. Thin layers of powdered medication are repeatedly spread on top of one another.

This means that patterns of liquid droplets are printed onto selected regions of each powder layer and interactions between the powder and liquid bond the materials together, creating a 3D printed pill.

As you might expect, the company holds an exclusive, worldwide license for pharmaceutical applications of this 3D printing technology – but perhaps it’s not long before all of our pills are 3D printed.

Let us know what you think about this technology in the comments.