Tablets & Capsules


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b a c k p a g e While tablets and capsules are both safe and viable dosage forms, capsules compare favorably to tab- lets in a number of ways, including: Cost savings and ease of man- ufacturing. Capsule formulations typically require lower amounts of excipients than tablet formulations because the capsule shell rather than the formulation ensures the delivery of the active pharmaceu- tical ingredient (API) to the treat- ment site. This allows capsules to be filled with formulations that might be difficult or impossible to deliver in tablet form, including modified-, sustained-, and enteric-release pel- lets and semi- solids, such as fats, oils, waxes, and emulsions. F e w e r i n g r e d i e n t s , p r o c e s s - ing steps, and analytical tests are required to develop a new capsule product than a new film-coated tab- let, which can reduce manufactur- ing complexity, development costs, and production timelines. Capsules also provide greater stability for highly reactive and heat- or light- sensitive APIs, lowering the risk of degradation during transportation and storage. Control of highly potent APIs. Capsules are a reliable choice for highly potent APIs because they require fewer manufacturing steps than tablets and can function as her- metic containers for the API. This can reduce the risk of worker expo- sure to the API, whereas during tab- let production, the risk of exposure typically remains after compression until the tablets are film coated. Additionally, the ability to fill hard capsules with liquid and semisolid formulations allows formulators to use techniques that produce mini- mal airborne dust, which lowers the risk of cross-contamination and may reduce capital requirements for ded- icated facilities, air handlers, and process equipment. Ease of swallowing. Capsules have a hard surface and oblong shape, which makes them easy to swallow. While tablets can also be oblong in shape, the increased num- ber of excipients in tablet formula- tions can result in a larger overall dosage form compared to the same product in a capsule. The capsule shell also masks unpleasant tastes and odors, which can improve patient adherence, whereas uncoated tablets and even film-coated tablets may have an unpleasant aftertaste. In one study, more than half of consumers surveyed said they pre- ferred capsules over all other oral solid dosage forms, citing ease of swallowing as a primary reason [1]. An internal Lonza study found that consumers believe easy-to-swallow dosage forms work faster and better preserve a medication's dose integ- rity and ingredient purity, which suggests that consumers may have greater confidence in the effective- ness of capsule drug products. Attractiveness. The number of tablet coating colors is limited com- pared to the several thousand differ- ent capsule colors available, as well as the unlimited options for unique imprints and logos. This allows for- mulators to build brand recognition through product design more easily than with tablets. Options include the use of two contrasting colors, logos printed directly on the cap- sule, and high-gloss finishes, which can make products more attrac- tive and memorable. The variety of color options also allows manu- facturers to consider a color's psy- chological impact when designing a product and avoid unsuitable col- ors—for example, avoiding red for antidepressant medication. Use in combination products. Many APIs are incompatible or have different stress thresholds, making it difficult to combine them into a sta- ble single tablet formulation. These challenges are easily overcome when combining multiple APIs into a sin- gle capsule. Formulators can fill mul- tiple finished dosage forms into the capsule or use a wide array of tech- niques to develop powders, pellets, or beads, as well as liquid or semi- solid formulations that can be com- bined with no adverse effects. Capsules also provide more opportunities to develop con- trolled-release and other high-value, novel products. This is supported by capsules' broader formulation devel- opment options and the flexibility to combine existing dosage forms into a single capsule. T&C Reference 1. Inas Rifaat Ibrahim et al., "The influence of consumers' preferences and perceptions of oral solid dosage forms on their treatment," Interna- tional Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, Vol. 34, No. 5, pages 728-732. Steve Rode is manager of business develop- ment at Lonza Cap- sules and Health Ingredients (CHI) (201 316 9200, www. Benefits of capsules over tablets for optimizing product performance and improving patient compliance

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