If you've ever had trouble swallowing pills, rejoice, the FDA has approved a new 3D printed drug product that creates pills that dissolve in water in less than 10 seconds. It literally goes "poof".

Watch the first FDA approved 3D-printed drug dissolve magically in seconds. Image 1.

The drug formulation, Spirtam (levetiracetam) is an epilepsy drug, but Aprecia Pharmaceuticals believes its ZipDose technology can be applied elsewhere.


ZipDose only works as a 3D printed process. Traditional dissolving pills are made by tightly compacting the drug or molding it. With everything pressed or bound closely together, it can take minutes to fully dissolve. ZipDose is made by dripping a liquid binder on a fine bed of powder. Subsequent layers are built on top until the pill comes together. This keeps the powder loose and the pill porous. When the pill touches water, the water can easily get inside and dissolve the bonds.


There are other advantages as well, including being able to use a wider variety of flavors, and deliver higher doses than previously possible with dissolving pills. The speed of dissolving also means a more even and consistent dosing, no more leftover pill fragments at the bottom of the cup.


3D printing is already finding many uses in medicine notably in printing custom made body parts to replace defective ones.