From liquid forms to effervescent and chewable tablets
To improve their health, millions of people use medicines or supplements in the form of tablets or capsules every day. Although this is the most common method of administration today, depending on their size, shape and texture, many people find tablets and capsules difficult to swallow. This can be a problem, even for those who usually don’t have difficulty swallowing.
Considered the most convenient and cost-effective method of administering drugs, it is not surprising that they have become so popular. In fact, the pharmaceutical industry almost automatically turns to tablet formulation. However, a recent survey conducted in the United States and Germany found that at least half of the population had difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules.
In this study, 56% of participants interfered with the tablets or capsules, either by breaking them, dissolving them in water, or even stopping the medication altogether. Knowing that tampering with tablets or capsules reduces their effectiveness, a failure to follow of this magnitude not only has potentially serious consequences for a person’s health, but also has a significant financial impact on the health care system. The annual costs of non-compliance with medication are estimated at between 100 and 290 billion dollars in the United States and 1.25 billion euros in Europe.
Difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules is a problem faced by a wide range of people, regardless of their age or gender. It is easy to assume that swallowing difficulties apply mainly to the elderly. However, more than half of participants aged 16 to 24 also reported having the same problem. In addition to the shape and size of the tablets, flavor and odor were also reasons participants gave for their difficulty taking the medication as prescribed.
This study shows us, in summary, that people want convenient products that taste and smell great, are easy to swallow and conveniently adapt to their lifestyle. Conventional solid doses usually do not provide this desired positive experience. Hopefully we see more alternative dosage forms being offered in the pharmaceutical industry. From liquid forms to effervescent and chewable tablets, many solutions exist to better meet the market demands.
An opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry
User-friendly dosage forms aren’t just a solution for people who don’t like or simply can’t swallow tablets or gel caps. In addition to creating a positive user experience, alternative dosage forms help pharmaceutical and healthcare companies revitalize aging products, strengthen brand loyalty, and differentiate products from the competition. As example, offering children’s medicine in fun flavored syrups, or the convenience of most antacid chewable tablets is something to get inspired from.
Integrated Packaging Systems offers a range of products to help you package medicine in various forms.
Our Versaflow liquid filler feature peristaltic pumps that allow for easy and clean changeovers. This is especially useful when bottling liquid based drugs in various flavors, such as in children cough syrups. As only the tubes are in contact with the product, it ensures virtually zero chance for cross contamination, safer and quicker way to switch from one product/flavor to another.
ISP Procount Slat Counters are also design with the high throughput required to bottle over the counter chewable tablets such as antacids. Chewable tablets are usually larger than the ones destined to be swallowed, making a slat counter a more cost efficient solution compared to most electronic counters.
By developing products in different forms and with flavors options, you can better meet your customers needs. This is especially important in the over-the-counter (OTC) market, where patients and consumers are kings and typically stick with the brands they know, trust and love. In addition, reformulating current drugs into new, user-friendly forms is an effective way to get an edge over the competition and extend your patents.
Instead of finding new substances, reformulating existing compounds into more convenient forms is an attractive avenue because drugs can not only be improved, but also made more difficult to copy. It can also revitalize aging brands and stimulate consumer interest. By developing user-friendly dosage forms, drugs or supplements provide additional value to consumers.