Mass-customization of oral tablets via the combination of 3D printing and injection molding.
Devine, Declan M.
Lyons, John G.
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The new frontier of medicine is the personalization of treatment to match a patient’s individual needs. Fused-filament fabrication (FFF) offers a platform for the personalization of drug dosage forms, but one of its chief shortcomings compared to other tablet production methods such as dry compression and wet granulation is relatively low throughput. Conversely, injection molding (IM) is a manufacturing technique for the high-volume production of parts, but in which individual part customization is both expensive and slow requiring the modification of expensive mold tooling. Mass-customization is the manufacture of custom products that match the needs of individual consumers but which are produced at the low unit cost associated with high-volume production. We successfully integrated for the first time FFF with IM in a multi-step manufacturing process for the production of custom bilayer tablets loaded with two active pharmaceutical ingredients used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The FFF layer was loaded with the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, while the IM layer was loaded with lovastatin. Infill percentage was varied for the FFF layer as a means to modify drug release. The IM injection pressure was evaluated for its effect on drug release and layer-layer adhesion. The bilayer tablets obtained offered different combinations of drug release profiles, which were governed by a combination of factors, including surface area to volume ratio; IM injection volume penetration into the FFF layer; FFF infill percentage; layer tortuosity and porosity. These different parameters could be utilized to modify the individual release of both drugs from the bilayer tablet. Thus for the first time, we have demonstrated a viable method for the mass-customization of oral tablets which could hasten the rollout of personalized medicine.
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