3D printed multi-compartment capsular devices for two-pulse oral drug delivery
In the drug delivery area, versatile therapeutic systems intended to yield customized combinations of drugs, drug doses and release kinetics have drawn increasing attention, especially because of the advantages that personalized pharmaceutical treatments would offer. In this respect, a previously proposed capsular device able to control the release performance based on its design and composition, which could extemporaneously be filled, was improved to include multiple separate compartments so that differing active ingredients or formulations may be conveyed. The compartments, which may differ in thickness and composition, resulted from assembly of two hollow halves through a joint also acting as a partition. The systems were manufactured by fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing, which holds special potential for product personalization, and injection molding (IM) that would enable production on a larger scale. Through combination of compartments having wall thickness of 600 or 1200 μm, composed of promptly soluble, swellable/erodible or enteric soluble polymers, devices showing two-pulse release patterns, consistent with the nature of the starting materials, were obtained. Systems fabricated using the two techniques exhibited comparable performance, thus proving the prototyping ability of FDM versus IM.