3D Printing is reaching new heights according to sources from the FDA as well as WebMD, and the clinical trials of a new medication being tested for epilepsy. In a recent report from Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, the agency has developed a 3D printed tablet for epilepsy that rapidly disintegrates with a sip of liquid. The tablet is called Spritam and is the first 3D printed drug to be approved for sale in the U.S. and it is expected to be available early next year, in 2016.
“For the last 50 years we have manufactured tablets in factories and shipped them to hospitals and for the first time this process means we can produce tablets much close to the patient,” Dr. Mohamed Albed Alhnan, a lecturer in pharmaceutics at the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom, explained in an interview with BBC News.
Nearly 3 million Americans have been diagnosed with epilepsy, including 460,000 children according to WebMD.com and the numbers continue to rise. The financial expense and physical care some patients need can be overwhelming to the family and/or the caregiver, 3D printing can make the frustration of being able to obtain prescriptions easier and possibly even approach new, more effective medication technology. 3D printing is already a leading technology in the development of medical devices.
There is still a long road ahead for 3D printing pharmaceuticals. From developing printers that can print a higher quantity pharmaceuticals at a time all the way down to the specific benefits of 3D printing like drugs that can be personalized using different layers to create a more effective release of the medication into the body, a more person specific medication experience.
“The uniformity of dosage control with this type of manufacturing method is at least as good, if not far better, than conventional manufacturing” said Michael J. Cima, PhD., Massachusetts Institute of Technology.