Optimized antibiotic dosing potential with 3D-printed tablets

Written by Georgi Makin

Researchers from Pakistan have 3D-printed antibiotics as tablets with the aim of optimizing antibiotic dosing and personalized pharmaceuticals.

A collaborative team of researchers from University of The Punjab (Lahore, Pakistan), Mirpur University of Science & Technology (Pakistan), Bahaudin Zakaria University (Multan, Pakistan) and Lahore College for Women University (Pakistan) has developed 3D-printed antibiotics – specifically tablets containing the antibiotic, ciprofloxacin hydrochloride – in an effort to improve the optimization of antibiotic dosing.

The team utilized a fused deposition modelling methodology to 3D print tablets of the same size with varying percentages of infill and drug concentration, commenting on the ability of ciprofloxacin hydrochloride to withstand the high temperatures required by the process, without degrading.

Measuring not only the morphology of each tablet, but also the release of the drug when applied to hydrochloric acid allowed the team to draw conclusions based on the efficacy of drug delivery for 3D-printed antibiotics, postulating on the morphological, chemical and practical characteristics of a potential future drug formulation in this format.

Results described in the Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine illustrate how the release of the 3D-printed antibiotics relied on the infill percentage, as the tablets containing only a 25% infill were reported to completely release the drug in 4 hours, while the tablets containing 50–100% infill gave significantly longer release profiles.


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The researchers described how the release may be due to different physical and chemical mechanisms, as the lower the infill percentage, the faster the tablet will dissolve due to internal channels and great exposed surface areas.

In the case of the higher percentage tablets, however, the action is likely to be more diffusion-dependent based on the reduced surface area, with the potential for further erosive action in tightly packed, 100% infill tablets.

The team concluded that 3D-printed tablets could be designed to incorporate personalized drug release profiles for antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin hydrochloride, based on infill patterns.

Furthermore, the team comments that this project could be used to optimize 3D-printed antibiotics dosing, contributing to an enhanced ‘clinical outcome’ and could even lead to a sophisticated method for personalized medicine production for other pharmaceuticals upon further investigation.

Find out more in our partner publication, Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine >>

Interested in publishing with the Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine? Contact the Managing Editor, Adam Price-Evans, for more information: [email protected]

Source: Abbas N, Qamar N, Hussain A et al. Fabrication of modified-release custom-designed ciprofloxacin tablets via fused deposition modeling 3D printing. J. 3D Print. Med. 4(1), 17–27 (2020)


Lead image: Images of 3D-printed tablets. Reproducible with permission from Future Medicine. Taken from: Abbas N, Qamar N, Hussain A et al. Fabrication of modified-release custom-designed ciprofloxacin tablets via fused deposition modeling 3D printing. J. 3D Print. Med. 4(1), 17–27 (2020)