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FAQ on pharmaceutical pellets

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What material are pellets made of?

Pellet materials for pharmaceutial purpose are:

Most pellet materials are seen to be neutral. They do not show mentionable influence on the drug dissolution characteristics. An exception are tartaric acid pellets (TAP). TAPs assist dissolution of weakly basic drugs by serving a localized acidic environment. A good summary is given in an overview article.

pellet materials

Why are sugar pellets often used?

Sugar pellets are long-term available and part of many former formulations for oral dosage forms. However, the trend shows, that chemically inert MCC pellets with lower friability gain importance.

Why do microcrystalline cellulose pellets gain importance?

Microcrystalline cellulose pellets gain importance due to their better properties in drug processes. The chemical inertness and high friability make them becoming perfect starter pellets for multi-particulates.

What is the main purpose of tartaric acid pellets?

The purpose of tartaric acid pellets is to include an additional functionality to pharmaceutical formulations. Tartaric acid pellets serve as starter cores in oral drug formulations (pellet technologies). The chemical properties of tartaric acid serve perfect localized dissolution conditions for weakly base actives.

What are the main functionalities of starter pellets?

Main functionalities of starter pellets are:

The overall expression for employing pellets in drug formulations is called pellet technologies. Some pellets, such as made of tartaric acid, serve additional functionalities.



Which products contain pharmaceutical pellets?

Several products contain pharmaceutical pellets. Pharamceutical pellets are found in multipartitular oral dosage forms:

  • Oral suspensions
  • Sachets / stick pack
  • ODT (oral desintegrating tablets)
  • MUPS (Multiple Unit Pellet Systems)
  • Fixed dose combinations
  • Capsules

An excellent overview is listed here.

products contain pharmaceutical pellets

products contain pharmaceutical pellets

Are pharmaceutical pellets for paediatrics useful?

Yes, definitely pharmaceutical pellets for paediatrics are useful. Advantages are:

  • flexible dosing units
  • homogeneous drug distribution
  • Reduces risks, such as dose dumping
  • high customer compliance of adolescents, children, infants, neonates and newborns

The main reason for specialized paediatric medicine are certain differences of the human body interaction with the drug formulation. For example, neonates and infants have increased stomach pH due to decreased acid secretion. Drug uptake and bioavailablity might therefore be different. Modified drug formulations are requested, which do not only consider a change in drug concentration, but also pay respect to dissolution profiles.

Mostly, pharmaceutical pellets for paediatrics are used in pellet technologies.

pharmaceutical pellets for paediatrics

What is the role of pharmaceutical pellets for geriatrics?

Definitely, pharmaceutical pellets for geriatrics are frequently used in drug formulations. Advantages are:

  • Small dosing units
  • Formulations, e.g. mini tablets
  • Controlled drug release
  • high customer compliance for seniors and persons with swallowing difficulties

Additionally, functionalities such as taste masking (which can also serve as a marketing brand tool for product recognition) can be implemented into the drug formulation.

See more information on pellet technologies.

pharmaceutical pellets for geriatrics

What is an immediate release profile?

An immediate release profile defines an instant drug release, dissolution or uptake. Typical dosage forms are ODTs (oral desintegrating tablets) or sachets / stick packs.

There are several drug release profiles which can be charcterized by dissolution curves:

  • immediate
  • controlled
  • zero order release

In an immediate release profile, the drug is not retarded nor released in a controlled manner. The entire drug dose is released at once (immediately) and available for uptake. The antagonist of immediate release is a retarded or extended release.

A release profile is defiend by the drug formulation. See pellet technologies.

release profile

release profiles

What is a modified release profile?

Other synonyms for a modified release profile are

  • extended release profile
  • delayed release profile
  • Retarded release profile

Relase profiles of drugs allow a controlled dissolution at defined times or locations. The aim is a continuous drug uptake in the body or targeted transport of the drug to the location of highest bioavailability. The other case would be an all-at-once drug release, which is an immediate release.

Find more information about release profiles on pellet technologies. Link to wikipedia.

modified release profile

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