3D printed pellets (Miniprintlets): A novel, multi-drug, controlled release platform technology

Atheer Awad, Fabrizio Fina, Sarah J. Trenfield, Pavanesh Patel, Alvaro Goyanes, Simon Gaisford, Abdul W. Basit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)


Selective laser sintering (SLS) is a single-step three-dimensional printing (3DP) process that can be leveraged to engineer a wide array of drug delivery systems. The aim of this work was to utilise SLS 3DP, for the first time, to produce small oral dosage forms with modified release properties. As such, paracetamol-loaded 3D printed multiparticulates, termed miniprintlets, were fabricated in 1 mm and 2 mm diameters. Despite their large surface area compared with a conventional monolithic tablet, the ethyl cellulose-based miniprintlets exhibited prolonged drug release patterns. The possibility of producing miniprintlets combining two drugs, namely paracetamol and ibuprofen, was also investigated. By varying the polymer, the dual miniprintlets were programmed to achieve customised drug release patterns, whereby one drug was released immediately from a Kollicoat Instant Release matrix, whilst the effect of the second drug was sustained over an extended time span using ethyl cellulose. Herein, this work has highlighted the versatility of SLS 3DP to fabricate small and intricate formulations containing multiple active pharmaceutical ingredients with distinct release properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • 3D printed drug products
  • Acetaminophen
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Beads
  • Multiple units
  • Personalised medicines
  • Personalized pharmaceuticals
  • Printlets
  • Spheroids
  • Three dimensional printing


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