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3D Printing Custom Shaped Tablets Opens a Future for Home Printing Medications

Paige Anne Carter



3D printing is used in bioengineering patient compatible organs and cell structures but it is also used in the side of the pharmaceutical industry. A group of researchers from the University College London’s School of Pharmacy used 3D printing to explore the effects of geometry on the characteristics of drug release on pills and tablets. Their study aims to produce differently-shaped tablets that are difficult to create using traditional methods.

Traditional methods in creating tablets is fabrication. Researchers in this study indicated the importance of 3D printing in the mass production of tablets. A few months after publishing the findings, scientists were able to venture into making liquid-based tablets because they used 3D printers to create the tablets.

They hope that one day, doctors will be able to email their patients their medicine dosage that can be 3D printed using their home printers into a specific tablet right at the comforts of their home. Currently, they were able to print water-soluble form of plastic similar to dishwashing pods. In order to create the 3D printed tablets, the liquid drug is loaded into the plastic material which subsequently self absorbs to create the tablet with the predetermined shape.

Dr. Simon Gaisford, head of the School of Pharmaceutics at UCL, noted that it is possible in the future for patients to print their own medication using emailed prescriptions from their doctors as long as they have a 3D printer at home. With this technology, patients suffering from debilitating conditions don’t need to travel to get to a pharmacy in order to get their medications.


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