The Food and Drug Administration approved a 3D-printed drug for the first time, the manufacturer, Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, announced.
The drug, Spritam levetiracetam, is an oral prescription for treatment of partial onset seizures, myoclonic seizures and primary generalised tonic-clonic seizures in adults and children with epilepsy.
Aprecia says that its new type of tablet is made by 3D-printing layers of the powdered drug, binding the layers of powder together, and then blowing away the excess powder. The drug’s unique structure allows it to dissolve considerably faster than the average pill, which as the news site 3DPrint points out is a boon to seizure sufferers who often are prescribed large, hard-to-swallow pills.
The Ohio-based company says its printing system can package potent drug doses of up to 1,000mg into individual tablets. It expects to launch Spritam in the first quarter of 2016.
The FDA has previously approved medical devices – including prosthetics – made with 3D printing. Spritam will be available via prescription early next year.
In Britain, several hospitals are using 3D printing to create bespoke prosthetics, models of internal injuries and surgical guides. Research is under way into the printing of human organs. L’Oreal said earlier this year that it would use the technology to create human skin samples on which to test its cosmetics.
..... Devashree Goenka