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Towards printing of medicine in 2D and 3D

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The pharmaceutical industry showed an increasing interest for printing technologies during the recent years. Besides diagnostic aspects, printing techniques are nowadays used for the fabrication of actual dosage forms or to enable the drug loading of pre-manufactured devices and dosage forms. The present work intends to give an overview of the opportunities given by inkjet printing and extrusion-based printing systems for the manufacturing of medicine.

Inkjet printers have been widely used in the pharmaceutical field for depositing small amounts of drug-loaded liquids onto suitable substrates, such as orally disintegrating polymer films [1]. The precise printing process and a layer-by-layer printing approach enables flexibility in dosing. In particular with regard to special patient groups who need individualized doses and drug combinations, respectively, a fast and flexible printing process combining several active components can be considered a promising solution for on-demand patient supply.

Extrusion-based printing, for example using semi-solid materials, or more common using polymer melts in a fuseddeposition modeling approach, can moreover be described as a three-dimensional printing technique. The required dosage form in terms of size, shape, surface area, and total weight, can be designed with computer-aided design softwares. The most challenging part of the 3D manufacturing process is, however, identifying the right polymers and excipients for the formulation to match with the requirements for drug release and overall disintegration of the dosage form once it has been administered to a patient [2,3].

The current developments show that more printers will enter the market, including hybrid systems combining inkjet and extrusion-based systems specifically for pharmaceutical purposes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2017

More about this publication?
  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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