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Patient-Specific Drug Formulations Through 3D Printing

How does 3D pharmaceutical printing apply to precision medicine?

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines personalized or precision medicine as "an innovative approach to tailoring disease prevention and treatment that takes into account differences in people's genes, environments, and lifestyles."

Person holding prescription pill bottle

Most treatments that are available are developed in ways that administer doses and formulations that work for most people. This does not consider differences in the way each individual metabolizes or responds to these "one-size-fits-all" formulations.

Pharmacogenomics is one of the cornerstones of precision medicine. This field of research analyzes how a person's genes impact the way they respond to medications. This process can guide doctors' selection of medications that optimally benefit each patient. The use of pharmacogenomics also can help reduce unwanted pharmacological side effects based on each individual's sensitivities or drug allergies.

3D printing manufacturing processes support patient-specific drug formulations.

Laxxon's 3D screen printing mold

3D printing uses manufacturing processes that inherently support patient-specific drug formulations, such as fused deposition modeling.

Fused deposition modeling uses thermoplastic materials to prepare 3D-printed medications. Powder forms of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are added to select layers while still in the liquid phase before they solidify.

3D printing manufacturers can customize dissolution times for each API based on the 3D printing materials chosen. This manufacturing method enables formulations with slow, delayed, or extended-release capabilities.

Patient-specific formulations can improve patient safety.

3D printing manufacturers can choose specific geometries of 3D printed drugs and combine different doses of APIs from multiple drugs within specific layers during the 3D printing process. This process allows manufacturers to manipulate drug release profiles and formulations in such a way that minimum doses produce the maximum effects with reduced side effects.

Personalized dosage forms can reduce polypharmacy and treatment burden.

More effective formulations can be developed when this flexible, easily adjustable manufacturing process is applied while keeping each individual's pharmacogenomics and comorbid conditions in mind. 3D printing machines also have the capability to quickly mass produce these personalized 3D printed medications.

Elderly man holding weekly pill sorter

Many people with several different health conditions take multiple medications, possibly all at different times of the day. This increases the treatment burden on these people who have to remember to take their medications at specific times. Many people set alarms on their cell phones or watches to remind them when it is time to take their medicine.

3D printing has the potential to combine all of these medications into one 3D printed tablet specifically designed to release the APIs of each medication at certain times of the day. This layered release can cut back on the number of times a day a person has to remember to take their medications. It may also reduce missed dosages as well as help to maintain therapeutic levels of the medication in the body.

Manufacturers must overcome additive manufacturing challenges

Additive manufacturing must overcome several challenges related to patient-specific drug formulations. These challenges include:

  • Biocompatibility of printed materials

  • Effective control of design parameters such as printing speed, layer height, density of materials, geometric shapes, and temperature settings

  • Mass production of patient-specific dosage forms on an industrial scale

  • Sterilization and stability of printed materials

Despite these recognized challenges, patients can benefit significantly from precision medicine, such as patient-specific formulations applied to pharmaceuticals. Treatments would be more effective because they are specifically tailored to how each person's body uniquely responds to and metabolizes the medications.

Medications might also be safer because patient-specific doses might not cause as many or as serious side effects. Additionally, 3D printing of medications can improve patient adherence to treatment regimens by reducing polypharmacy, missed doses, and overall treatment burden.

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Laxxon Medical is dedicated to engineering patented 3D pharmaceutical solutions that optimize products and benefit patients. Our goal is to establish SPID®-Technology as a manufacturing process with the individual and the pharmaceutical partner in mind.

To keep up to date with SPID®-Technology and Laxxon Medical news and announcements, follow us on LinkedIn.

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