Next generation 3D printing platform for the fabrication of personalized pills



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6 in 10 adults in the US suffer from chronic conditions which can range from heart and metabolic diseases to cancer and HIV. The commonality of all these chronic disorders is the use of multi-dose multi-drug regimens, which leads to poor patient compliance and deteriorates the patient’s quality of life. Switching to a one multi-drug-containing pill (polypill) a day approach would help improve patient compliance especially in pediatric and geriatric population. Developing these polypills using conventional manufacturing methods in the pharmaceutical industry is challenging. Use of upcoming technologies can help solve this problem. Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a manufacturing technique that enables the development of dosage forms containing multiple drugs with complex structures and release profiles. The use of this technology to develop a polypill tailored specifically for the patient for reduced dosing will help increase compliance and medication adherence and also help reduce the overall costs of the medication. While setting this process up the goal was to work with material extrusion based 3D printers operating on the principles of fused deposition modeling (FDM) and pressure assisted microsyringe (PAM) based extrusion, due to their smaller footprint. An inhouse printer was set up using a conveyor belt to implement a continuous printing platform with unlimited print area. The main goal with these printing based systems was to understand how the different processing conditions affect the formulation composition and in turn affects the properties of the final printed dosage form. The effect of changing layer orientation while printing using the continuous setup was evaluated against the conventional batch process. Effect of print geometry and infill density was evaluated to understand the effect on release performance. Aspirin and Nifedipine were selected as model drugs for this study. PAM can be used with direct powder blends for printing. We set up a single step extrusion process for developing self-emulsifying granules that could replace the powder blend. The improved performance of our granules helped eliminate the drawbacks of drug segregation and distribution. These studies demonstrate the promising utility of 3D printing for personalizing drug delivery.


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