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The Growing Popularity of Capsule Manufacturing in Pharma



Capsules and tablets are both popular oral drug dosage forms, and patients across the globe will be familiar with both. While, for patients, the difference between the two forms may be as simple as how easy it is to swallow, for drug manufacturers, it is a very different story. From preformulation studies through to release onto the market, there are a huge range of factors that influence whether a drug candidate may be formulated into capsules or tablets at different phases of development.

What is the Difference Between Capsules and Tablets?

Fundamentally, a tablet is a small compounded mixture containing an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) combined with excipients – inactive substances mixed with the drug to enhance stability – and compressed into a single unit. Capsules, meanwhile, refer to shell-type primary containment vessels containing a drug substance in either liquid or powder form. These are typically composed of gelatine, or materials derived from cellulose.

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About the author

Stephen Byard is Head of Molecule Development & Scientific Direction at Arcinova. He is an organic chemist with more than 30 years’ experience working in the pharma industry. Stephen completed his PhD in the Department of Organic Chemistry at the University of Leeds, UK, and his expertise includes physical and molecular characterisation, formulation development, structure elucidation, and materials science. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and is currently secretary for the RSC nuclear magnetic resonance discussion group.
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