Washington, DC — The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug manufactured using 3D printing: Aprecia’s epilepsy-fighting Spritam (available 2016).
The 3D printers build layers of medication, one on top the other, until the right dosage is reached. The approach packages those layers more tightly than traditional manufacturing choices while keeping the material porous enough to quickly dissolve. That’s particularly appealing for patients who might need a high dose (up to 1000 milligrams with Spritam) but have a hard time swallowing.
“As a result, Spritam enhances the patient experience — administration of even the largest strengths of levetiracetam with just a sip of liquid,” Aprecia said in a statement on Monday. “In addition, with Spritam there is no measuring required as each dose is individually packaged, making it easy to carry this treatment on the go.”
This isn’t the FDA’s first foray into the world of 3D printing. They’ve previously cleared medical devices – including prosthetics and stents for 3D manufacturing. But the pills may open up real opportunities to bring more personal medication closer to patients. A simple tweak in a formula would let a hospital print a custom dose on site.
(Featured image courtesy www.makerbot.com)