In the past few years 3D printing has become the next big trend on the horizon and it has now turned its sights onto the pharmaceutical industry…

A few days ago the FDA approved the world’s first 3D printed drug; Aprecia’s Spritam and will be used for treating epilepsy.

One of the many benefits of printing a drug such as Spritam, is that it allows for a more precise and higher packed dosage within a small tablet. For instance Spirtam’s 1,000mg is easier to administer and dissolves quicker thanks to being printed with with Aprecia’s “ZipDose” technology, which makes the pill porous and able to quickly disintegrate in a “sip” of liquid. Not to mention the 3D printing process creates completely uniform drugs this helps to ensure consistency with dosage.

“By combining 3D printing technology with a highly-prescribed epilepsy treatment, Spritam is designed to fill a need for patients who struggle with their current medication experience,” said Don Wetherhold, chief executive officer of Aprecia. He also explained how this is just the beginning for Aprecia “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 medication.”

The FDA had already approved 3D printed medical devices, however this is the first time a 3D product had been accepted for use inside the human body.

Although some predict that the approval may not be as well received as some believe. David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, says: “News that the FDA has approved the 3D printing of drugs might provoke mixed reactions. On the one hand, the new production method allows precise dosage creation, and drug combinations to be manufactured for specific cases. However, as with any new technology, there’s a possible down side.

“We have already seen news stories highlighting potentially contentious issues surrounding 3D printing. As it becomes more widely available, there’s the possibility of it being exploited to create harmful things. It’s likely to be just as true in the area of drugs.”


Despite this inherent risk, it is clear that 3D printing of drugs could bring about great changes within the pharmaceutical industry.

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