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Originally only manufactured in discoid shape, tablet today also come in triangular, rectangular, round, oval, oblong, or cylindrical varieties. Colors can vary to distinguish different medicines, and tablets are often stamped with symbols, letters, and numbers, enabling them to be identified.
According to their route of administration and the method of manufacture, it is possible to classify tablets into chewable tablets, effervescent tablets and multi-layer tablets, to name a few. Still, the compressed tablet remains the most popular dosage form nowadays.
Production processes involved in making pharmaceutical tablets
In the pharmaceutical industry, the methods used for tablet making can be classified as granulation (wet granulation and dry granulation) and direct compression.
Wet granulation vs. dry granulation
Granulation is a complex multi-stage process in which small powder particles are combined together to form agglomerates called granules.
The main difference between wet granulation and dry granulation is that wet granulation involves a granulating fluid like water, isopropanol, ethanol, or mixtures thereof. In contrast, dry granulation is the formation of granules without using any liquid solution.
Dry granulation can be accomplished with two methods, slugging and roller compaction, and it is used above all for those tablet ingredients that are sensitive to moisture or are unable to withstand elevated temperatures.
In wet granulation, powder particles are bound together using liquid solutions to achieve particle enlargement. The granulating fluid should be volatile to be easily removed by drying and should be non-toxic.
Tablet making equipment for direct compression
Direct compression refers to a process in which powdered APIs are mixed with excipients and lubricants without involving granulation steps. It has grown in popularity because it provides the shortest, cheapest, and most effective way to produce tablets while minimizing processing time, steps, and equipment required. This tablet production method is suitable for moisture and heat-sensitive API ingredients. Direct compression requires a tablet press in which the upper and lower punches are pressed together within the die hole and compress the tablet until it is formed.
The tablet equipment used for compression is the single punch tablet press and the rotary tablet press. The difference is that the single punch tablet press has two punches (upper and lower), but it uses only the upper one for compression. The rotary press has multiple punches and uses both the upper and the lower ones to compress the granules.
Uncoated tablets vs. coated tablets. When is a tablet coating machine needed?
Have you ever wondered why some tablets are coated and others are not?
Let’s start by understanding the difference, although the name already says it all. Uncoated tablets are simply made by compressing the granules with no coating added afterward. They don’t taste good and are harder to swallow, especially for children. This can be an excellent reason to use a coating; for instance, tablets are coated to mask an unpleasant taste.
An example of coated tablets is enteric coated tablets. The enteric coating is necessary when the tablet’s active ingredient is acid sensitive. Using tablet coating equipment that applies a polymer barrier to the tablet makes it possible to protect it from stomach acidity. This involves spraying the film-forming material onto the tablet surface as the tablets rotate in the pan.
Keep your tablet safe by choosing suitable packaging
Solid dosage forms such as tablets are commonly packed in blister packs. This type of packaging assures the integrity of each dose since each cavity is separate, so if one of their seals is breached, this doesn’t compromise the quality of the whole product
The main aim of pharmaceutical packaging, like all others, is usually to protect products from any physical and biological damage and from external conditions that can alter the property of the product inside.
The importance of serialization in the pharmaceutical industry
When it comes to informing the buyer, medical packaging must provide correct information about product name, ingredients, use, and dose, to mention a few. This way, consumers are more aware of product origin or manufacture. To be able to access all this information, product traceability needs to be provided.
The most commonly used standard to facilitate traceability on drug units is serialization. A barcode needs to be printed on a different level of drug packaging (primary, secondary, and tertiary). With the help of this printed symbol, it is easier to track and trace the origin of a drug and reduce the chance of counterfeit products.