3D printed opioid medicines with alcohol-resistant and abuse-deterrent properties

Jun Jie Ong, Atheer Awad, Annalisa Martorana, Simon Gaisford, Edmont Stoyanov, Abdul W. Basit, Alvaro Goyanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


In the past decade, prescriptions for opioid medicines have been exponentially increasing, instigating opioid abuse as a global health crisis associated with high morbidity and mortality. In particular, diversion from the intended mode of opioid administration, such as injecting and snorting the opioid, is a major problem that contributes to this epidemic. In light of this, novel formulation strategies are needed to support efforts in reducing the prevalence and risks of opioid abuse. Here, modified release tramadol printlets (3D printed tablets) with alcohol-resistant and abuse-deterrent properties were prepared by direct powder extrusion three-dimensional (3D) printing. The printlets were fabricated using two grades of hydroxypropylcellulose (HPC). Both formulations displayed strong ethanol-resistance and had moderate abuse-deterrent properties. Polyethylene oxide (PEO) was subsequently added into the formulations, which improved the printlets’ resistance to physical tampering in nasal inhalation tests and delayed their dissolution in solvent extraction tests. Overall, this article reports for the first time the use of direct powder extrusion 3D printing to prepare drug products with both alcohol-resistant and abuse-deterrent properties. These results offer a novel approach for the safe and effective use of opioids that can contribute to the advantages that 3D printing provides in terms of on-demand dose personalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119169
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2020


  • Dose dumping
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Fused deposition modeling
  • Opioid analgesics
  • Personalized pharmaceuticals


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