Manufacture of tablets with structurally-controlled drug release using rapid tooling injection moulding

Walsh, Erin and Maclean, Natalie and Turner, Alice and Alsuleman, Moulham and Prasad, Elke and Halbert, Gavin and ter Horst, Joop H. and Markl, Daniel (2022) Manufacture of tablets with structurally-controlled drug release using rapid tooling injection moulding. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 624. 121956. ISSN 0378-5173 (

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With advancements in the pharmaceutical industry pushing more towards tailored medicines, novel approaches to tablet manufacture are in high demand. One of the main drivers towards micro-scale batch production is the ability to fine-tune drug release. This study demonstrates the use of rapid tooling injection moulding (RTIM) for tablet manufacture. Tablets were manufactured with varying structural features to alter the surface area whilst maintaining the same volume, resulting in differing specific surface area (SSA). The precision of this technique is evaluated based on eleven polymer formulations, with the tablets displaying < 2% variability in mass. Further tablets were produced containing paracetamol in three different polymer-based formulations to investigate the impact of SSA on the drug release. Significant differences were observed between the formulations based on the polymers polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and Klucel ELF. The polymer base of the formulation was found to be critical to the sensitivity of the drug release profile to SSA modification. The drug release profile within each formulation was modified by the addition of structural features to increase the SSA.