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Capsules are a solid oral dosage form for the delivery of life-saving drugs, mineral, vitamins or other healthy ingredients via supplements. These convenient packages enable reliable dosing, portability and high consumer compliance. Alternatives include more cumbersome liquid, powder or paste formulations.

Benefits of capsules as a dosage form

Consumer preference. The growing interest in capsules as a formulation is consumer driven. Consumers prefer capsules because they are tasteless, odorless, and easier to swallow. Capsules are also considered to work faster and better. In a study conducted by Burke Marketing Research, 1000 patients were asked about the form of drug administration they preferred, and more than half (54%) chose capsules (3). Another study, conducted with several hundred patients in two hospitals in Copenhagen and published in 2001, found that 66% preferred capsules (3). This preference has prompted pharmaceutical manufacturers to market products in capsule form even if the product already has been produced in tablet form.

Rapid dissolution. Most filled capsules disintegrate in 5–10 minutes. Some of the immediate release tablets may have much lower disintegration time. Once a capsule disintegrates, however, dissolution may be faster and dissolution levels achieved may be similar to tablets at 15 minutes. HPMC capsule shells can lead to rapid dissolution. However, these differences will not necessarily produce considerable alterations in the pharmacokinetic profiles of the drug product because the f2 value used to determine dissolution differences is often too discriminating, particularly when the dissolution is very fast relative to permeation and/or absorption is very fast relative to disposition.

Formulation development. Capsules are easier and faster to develop and manufacture in comparison to other OSD forms because the capsule manufacturing process involves fewer steps and a lower number and quantity of excipients. For example, as per studies conducted by Aspire Advisors, Acetazolamide 250 mg tablet weight is 516 mg but Acetazolamide ER 250 mg capsule fill weight is only 328 mg. Some coarse, free-flowing, Biopharmaceutical Classification System Class I drugs can be filled directly into capsules. Capsules can also be used for poorly compressible drugs.

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