The US Food and Drugs Administration has just approved production of the world's first 3D-printed prescription drug.
Called Spritam, the dissolvable tablet can now be used to control seizures in adults and children suffering certain forms of epilepsy.
It was created by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, an Ohio-based pharmaceutical company that plans to now go ahead and develop more medicines this way, such as pills for neurological disorders.
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3D printing involves the gradual addition of each layer to an object, and has soared in popularity in recent years. Other 3D-printed medical devices, such as prosthetics, have also been given the green light by the FDA.
The main benefit of using this method to create medicines, according to Aprecia, is that more medication can be tightly packaged into a small area. In the case of Sprintam, 1,000 miligrams is present in a single 3D-printed tablet.
In addition to this, it allows drugs to be developed in a bespoke way, with dosage tailored to an individual's specific needs. Using other techniques, they are identical and created in bulk.
Spritam will be made available for use during the first three months of next year, the company confirmed.