This is fascinating on many levels. On July 31, 2015, the FDA has approved – for the first time in history – a drug that is developed on a 3-D printer. Not a medical device or a toy figurine; a drug.
Aprecia Pharmaceuticals is the maker of SPRITAM, which is designed to treat seizures in patients with epilepsy. The drug’s active ingredient, levetiracetam, is not new. It’s been on the market for over 15 years, originally having been developed by UCB under the trade name Keppra.
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However, what’s unique about SPRITAM is ZipDose technology, the manufacturing process behind it, and the effect is has on patient experience and adherence.
Printing the medication on a 3-D machine allows each tablet to be layered with powder and liquid, from bottom to top, to create a porous tablet that disintegrates in seconds with a sip of liquid. This technology also enables stronger doses in each tablet.
While other forms of the medication exist, some patients, especially children, have difficulty swallowing or struggle with the idea of consuming tablets. SPRITAM makes taking the medication easier and less dreadful, increasing the likelihood of patient adherence.
Pretty neat, eh?
Here’s a video that shows how fast tablets dissolve using the ZipDose technology: