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      Novel On-Demand 3-Dimensional (3-D) Printed Tablets Using Fill Density as an Effective Release-Controlling Tool


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          This research demonstrates the use of fill density as an effective tool for controlling the drug release without changing the formulation composition. The merger of hot-melt extrusion (HME) with fused deposition modeling (FDM)-based 3-dimensional (3-D) printing processes over the last decade has directed pharmaceutical research towards the possibility of printing personalized medication. One key aspect of printing patient-specific dosage forms is controlling the release dynamics based on the patient’s needs. The purpose of this research was to understand the impact of fill density and interrelate it with the release of a poorly water-soluble, weakly acidic, active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) from a hydroxypropyl methylcellulose acetate succinate (HPMC-AS) matrix, both mathematically and experimentally. Amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs) of ibuprofen with three grades of AquaSolve TM HPMC-AS (HG, MG, and LG) were developed using an HME process and evaluated using solid-state characterization techniques. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), powder X-ray diffraction (pXRD), and polarized light microscopy (PLM) confirmed the amorphous state of the drug in both polymeric filaments and 3D printed tablets. The suitability of the manufactured filaments for FDM processes was investigated using texture analysis (TA) which showed robust mechanical properties of the developed filament compositions. Using FDM, tablets with different fill densities (20–80%) and identical dimensions were printed for each polymer. In vitro pH shift dissolution studies revealed that the fill density has a significant impact (F(11, 24) = 15,271.147, p < 0.0001) and a strong negative correlation (r > −0.99; p < 0.0001) with the release performance, where 20% infill demonstrated the fastest and most complete release, whereas 80% infill depicted a more controlled release. The results obtained from this research can be used to develop a robust formulation strategy to control the drug release from 3D printed dosage forms as a function of fill density.

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          3D printing of modified-release aminosalicylate (4-ASA and 5-ASA) tablets

          The aim of this study was to explore the potential of fused-deposition 3-dimensional printing (FDM 3DP) to produce modified-release drug loaded tablets. Two aminosalicylate isomers used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA, mesalazine) and 4-aminosalicylic acid (4-ASA), were selected as model drugs. Commercially produced polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) filaments were loaded with the drugs in an ethanolic drug solution. A final drug-loading of 0.06% w/w and 0.25% w/w was achieved for the 5-ASA and 4-ASA strands, respectively. 10.5mm diameter tablets of both PVA/4-ASA and PVA/5-ASA were subsequently printed using an FDM 3D printer, and varying the weight and densities of the printed tablets was achieved by selecting the infill percentage in the printer software. The tablets were mechanically strong, and the FDM 3D printing was shown to be an effective process for the manufacture of the drug, 5-ASA. Significant thermal degradation of the active 4-ASA (50%) occurred during printing, however, indicating that the method may not be appropriate for drugs when printing at high temperatures exceeding those of the degradation point. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) of the formulated blends confirmed these findings while highlighting the potential of thermal analytical techniques to anticipate drug degradation issues in the 3D printing process. The results of the dissolution tests conducted in modified Hank's bicarbonate buffer showed that release profiles for both drugs were dependent on both the drug itself and on the infill percentage of the tablet. Our work here demonstrates the potential role of FDM 3DP as an efficient and low-cost alternative method of manufacturing individually tailored oral drug dosage, and also for production of modified-release formulations.
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            Fabrication of extended-release patient-tailored prednisolone tablets via fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printing.

            Rapid and reliable tailoring of the dose of controlled release tablets to suit an individual patient is a major challenge for personalized medicine. The aim of this work was to investigate the feasibility of using a fused deposition modelling (FDM) based 3D printer to fabricate extended release tablet using prednisolone loaded poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) filaments and to control its dose. Prednisolone was loaded into a PVA-based (1.75 mm) filament at approximately 1.9% w/w via incubation in a saturated methanolic solution of prednisolone. The physical form of the drug was assessed using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD). Dose accuracy and in vitro drug release patterns were assessed using HPLC and pH change flow-through dissolution test. Prednisolone loaded PVA filament demonstrated an ability to be fabricated into regular ellipse-shaped solid tablets using the FDM-based 3D printer. It was possible to control the mass of printed tablet through manipulating the volume of the design (R(2) = 0.9983). On printing tablets with target drug contents of 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.5 and 10mg, a good correlation between target and achieved dose was obtained (R(2) = 0.9904) with a dose accuracy range of 88.7-107%. Thermal analysis and XRPD indicated that the majority of prednisolone existed in amorphous form within the tablets. In vitro drug release from 3D printed tablets was extended up to 24h. FDM based 3D printing is a promising method to produce and control the dose of extended release tablets, providing a highly adjustable, affordable, minimally sized, digitally controlled platform for producing patient-tailored medicines.
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              Selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printing of medicines

              Selective laser sintering (SLS) 3-dimensional printing is currently used for industrial manufacturing of plastic, metallic and ceramic objects. To date there have been no reports on the use of SLS to fabricate oral drug loaded products; therefore, the aim of this work was to explore the suitability of SLS printing for manufacturing medicines. Two thermoplastic pharmaceutical grade polymers, Kollicoat IR (75% polyvinyl alcohol and 25% polyethylene glycol copolymer) and Eudragit L100-55 (50% methacrylic acid and 50% ethyl acrylate copolymer), with immediate and modified release characteristics respectively, were selected to investigate the versatility of a SLS printer. Each polymer was investigated with three different drug loadings of paracetamol (acetaminophen) (5, 20 and 35%). To aid the sintering process, 3% Candurin® gold sheen was added to each of the powdered formulations. In total, six solid formulations were successfully printed; the printlets (3D printed tablets) were robust, and no evidence of drug degradation was observed. In biorelevant bicarbonate dissolution media, the Kollicoat formulations showed pH-independent release characteristics, with the release rate dependent on the drug content. In the case of the Eudragit formulations, these showed pH-dependent, modified-release profiles independent of drug loading, with complete release being achieved over 12h. In conclusion, this work has demonstrated that SLS is a versatile and practical 3D printing technology which can be applied to the pharmaceutical field, thus widening the armamentarium of 3D printing technologies available for the manufacture of modern medicines.

                Author and article information

                Polymers (Basel)
                Polymers (Basel)
                20 August 2020
                September 2020
                : 12
                : 9
                : 1872
                Pharmaceutical Engineering and 3D Printing (PharmE3D) Labs, Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78705, USA; rishithakkar@ 123456utexas.edu (R.T.); arpillai@ 123456utexas.edu (A.R.P.); Jiaxiang.Zhang@ 123456austin.utexas.edu (J.Z.); yu.zhang@ 123456utexas.edu (Y.Z.); vineetkulkarni@ 123456utexas.edu (V.K.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: M.Maniruzzaman@ 123456austin.utexas.edu ; Tel.: +1-512-232-4743
                Author information
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 22 July 2020
                : 18 August 2020

                fused deposition modeling,additive manufacturing,hpmc-as,controlled release,personalized medication,hot-melt extrusion,amorphous solid dispersions


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