Get Ready For The Age Of 3D Printed Medicine

3D printing could soon be used to make cheap and plentiful medicines following a landmark decision from the United States.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has for the first time approved the use of 3D printing in the manufacturing of medicines with Spritam, which is taken orally as part of prescription adjunctive therapy in the treatment of epilepsy,

The drug uses ZipDose powder-liquid three-dimensional printing (3DP) technology from American firm Aprecia, which creates premeasured, spill-proof unit-doses designed to disintegrate in the mouth with a sip of liquid.

Made to measure

Spritam is created by stitching together multiple layers of powdered medication using an aqueous fluid such as water, and the process is able to include high doses of medication up to 1,000mg per product.

ZipDose allows the drug to rapidly disintegrate within just ten seconds, meaning that the medicine can get to work quickly, and also offers a wide range of taste-masking options to ensure the dose is nicer to take.

Healthcare has long been named as being one of the main industries that could benefit from utilising 3D printing, due to its need to create personalised items for every patient.

In 2014, analyst firm Gartner predicted that cheaper 3D printers with ‘plug and print’ functionality will cause shipments to double every year between 2015 and 2018.

Around 108,151 3D printers were shipped during 2014, a figure which is set to increase to 217,350 by 2015 and will reach 2.3 million units within four years, creating a $13.4bn market.

Take our 3D printing quiz here!

Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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