Effects of porosity on drug release kinetics of swellable and erodible porous pharmaceutical solid dosage forms fabricated by hot melt droplet deposition 3D printing

Bin Zhang, Jehad Nasereddin, Thomas McDonagh, Didier von Zeppelin, Andy Gleadall, Fahad Alqahtani, Richard Bibb, Peter Belton, Sheng Qi

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3D printing has the unique ability to produce porous pharmaceutical solid dosage forms on-demand. Although using porosity to alter drug release kinetics has been proposed in the literature, the effects of porosity on the swellable and erodible porous solid dosage forms have not been explored. This study used a model formulation containing hypromellose acetate succinate (HPMCAS), polyethylene oxide (PEO) and paracetamol and a newly developed hot melt droplet deposition 3D printing method, Arburg plastic free-forming (APF), to examine the porosity effects on in vitro drug release. This is the first study reporting the use of APF on 3D printing porous pharmaceutical tablets. With the unique pellet feeding mechanism of APF, it is important to explore its potential applications in pharmaceutical additive manufacturing. The pores were created by altering the infill percentages (%) of the APF printing between 20 and 100% to generate porous tablets. The printing quality of these porous tablets was examined. The APF printed formulation swelled in pH 1.2 HCl and eroded in pH 6.8 PBS. During the dissolution at pH 1.2, the swelling of the printing pathway led to the gradual decreases in the open pore area and complete closure of pores for the tablets with high infills. In pH 6.8 buffer media, the direct correlation between drug release rate and infills was observed for the tablets printed with infill at and less than 60%. The results revealed that drug release kinetics were controlled by the complex interplay of the porosity and dynamic changes of the tablets caused by swelling and erosion. It also implied the potential impact of fluid hydrodynamics on the in vitro data collection and interpretation of porous solids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120626
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Early online date3 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2021


  • Arburg plastic free-forming
  • Controlled drug release
  • Hot melt droplet deposition 3D printing
  • Hot melt extrusion
  • Infill control
  • Porous solids

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