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Capsules- Advantages, Disadvantages, Raw Materials, Production

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Capsules are solid dosage forms and these are one of the most common forms of medication used to deliver drugs and supplements to the human body. It consists of two halves, which can be filled with either powder or liquid medication. The two halves are then joined together, forming a sealed capsule that can be ingested orally.
Capsules have a number of advantages and disadvantages, as well as unique manufacturing and raw materials considerations.

Examples of capsules: Pantoprazole gastro-resistant and domperidone prolonged-release capsules IP(40/30mg), Omeprazole 20mg capsules, etc.

Capsules-pharmaceutical study-imdip

Advantages of Capsules:

  • Easy to swallow: Capsules are typically easier to swallow than tablets. This is because they are usually smaller and smoother, making them easier to swallow, particularly for people who have difficulty swallowing pills.

  • Tasteless: Capsules are typically tasteless, which makes them easier to take for people who dislike the taste of medications.
  • Customization: Capsules can be customized to contain specific doses of medication. This means that patients can receive exactly the dose of medication that they need, which can improve treatment outcomes.
  • Protective coating: Capsules can have a protective coating, which can help protect the medication from degradation in the stomach. This can improve the effectiveness of the medication.
  • Stability: Capsules can be more stable than other forms of medication, such as liquids or tablets. This means that they have a longer shelf life, which can reduce waste and save money.

Related Article: Dosage form- Definition, Benefits, Classifications

Disadvantages of Capsules:

  • Limited compatibility: Capsules are not compatible with all medications. For example, medications that are very acidic or basic may not be suitable for capsules.
  • Manufacturing challenges: Manufacturing capsules can be more challenging than other forms of medication. This is because the two halves of the capsule must be joined together perfectly to create a seamless seal.
  • Higher cost: Capsules can be more expensive to manufacture than other forms of medication, such as tablets. This is because they require more specialized equipment and materials.

Related Articles: Tablet- Definition, advantages, disadvantages, manufacturing

Raw Materials for Capsules:

The two primary raw materials used to manufacture capsules are gelatin and vegetarian alternatives. 
Gelatin is a protein that is derived from collagen, which is found in animal bones, skin, and connective tissue.
Vegetarian alternatives, such as hypromellose, are made from plant cellulose. Both types of raw materials are available in a variety of grades, depending on the quality and purity required for the specific application.

Manufacturing or Production Process of Capsules:

  • Formulation Development: The first step in the manufacturing process of capsules is the formulation development stage. This stage involves the selection of an appropriate drug, excipients, and fillers used to make the capsule shell. The formulation is then tested for its stability, compatibility, and other characteristics.
  • Capsule Shell Preparation: The capsule shell is typically made of gelatin, a protein-based material derived from animal collagen. Gelatin is a widely used material because it is tasteless, odorless, and biocompatible. Other materials, such as vegetable cellulose, may also be used. The capsule shell is prepared by mixing gelatin with water, glycerin, and other additives. The mixture is heated and then cooled to form a gel.
  • Capsule Filling: After the capsule shell is prepared, it is time to fill it with the drug or supplement. Capsule-filling machines are used to fill the capsules. The filling process can be done manually or automatically. In the manual method, a technician uses a tray and spatula to fill each capsule individually. In the automatic method, the machine fills the capsules with the drug or supplement and then seals them.
  • Capsule Sealing: After the capsules are filled, they need to be sealed to prevent any leakage or contamination. Capsule sealing is done using either a pin or a thermal method. In the pin method, two pins are used to push the capsule ends together. Heat is applied to melt the capsule ends together in the thermal method.
  • Polishing: After the capsules are sealed, they may undergo a polishing process to remove any dust or debris that may have accumulated during the manufacturing process. The capsules are polished using a rotating drum that contains polishing agents.
  • Quality Control: The final step in the manufacturing process of capsules is quality control. The capsules are inspected for any defects, such as cracks or leaks. The weight of each capsule is also checked to ensure that it contains the correct amount of drug or supplement. The capsules are then packaged and shipped to the appropriate location.

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