The First FDA-Approved 3D-Printed Drug: An Easy Pill To Swallow

The wonders of 3-D printing have invaded our every day lives and affected almost every aspect of modern industry including: fashion, art, science, industrial design, health and medicine. For the first time ever, this innovative technology has been combined with an epilepsy treatment for consumer use that the Food and Drug Administration has already approved. Spritam is a drug initiative that may well bring about far-ranging implications for the pharmaceutical industry.



Aprecia Pharmaceuticals and ZipDose Technology

This innovative, New Jersey-based company has pioneered the concept of the 3-D printed pill and has already garnered more than 50 patents related to pharmaceutical applications for 3-D printing. Aprecia's ZipDose Technology is a unique delivery platform that simplifies the administration of medicine. It creates pre-measured, spill-proof unit doses designed to dissolve in the mouth with just a sip of liquid.

This revolutionary methodology utilizes 3-D printing in a new and unique way. It works by stitching together multiple layers of pulverized medication via the utilization of watery liquid that in turn creates a water-soluble medium that a sip of liquid rapidly destroys. The idea behind ZipDose is that medicine should be easy to both administer and swallow.


3-D Printer3-D Printer


In the words of Don Wetherhold, CEO of Aprecia Pharmaceuticals: "This is the first in a line of central nervous system products Aprecia plans to introduce as part of  our commitment to transform the way patients  experience taking their medication...By combining 3-D printing technology with a highly-prescribed epilepsy treatment, Spritam is designed to fill a need for patients who struggle with their current medication experience."

The FDA and 3-D printing

Usually known for extended delays when it comes to drug approvals and despite the fact that regulatory challenges can be considerable, the FDA has been unexpectedly open  to the idea of 3-D printing. This may be due to the fact that the path for the world's first 3-D printed pill  was already paved with the approval of the first 3-D printed prosthetic.


Spritam and the FDASpritam and the FDA

3-D printing and the pharmaceutical industry

One astounding fact about the Spritam pill used to treat epileptic seizures is the fact that since the active ingredients are being added to 3-D printers, Aprecia Pharmaceuticals has the ability to offer high dosages up to 1,000 mg assured that every dose will be exactly the same. This clearly implies that the pharmaceutical industry will soon be able to customize medications for specific patients and users. One-size-fits-all medications  will become a thing of the past as with 3-D printing, each dose can be individually measured and printed.

The future of 3-D printing and medicine

The successful use of 3-D printing in medicine is destined to spur a major transition within the pharmaceutical industry in which doctors shift from writing prescriptions to creating algorithms which include information about the chemical inks necessary to achieve the desired result. Printing  medications would allow patients to take charge of their own medications and make it possible to develop new types of compounds and medicines  based on innovative configurations.

The corner pharmacy may always be there, but a new competitor may very soon move in next door.

Closing thougths on medication:

Medicine is not only a science; it is also an art. with the very processes of life, which must be understood before they may be guided. ~ Paracelsus