On demand manufacturing of patient-specific liquid capsules via co-ordinated 3D printing and liquid dispensing

Tochukwu C Okwuosa, Cindy Soares, Verena Gollwitzer, Rober Habashy, Peter Timmins, Mohamed A Alhnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A method for the production of liquid capsules with the potential of modifying drug dose and release is presented. For the first time, the co-ordinated use of fused deposition modelling (FDM), 3D printing and liquid dispensing to fabricate individualised dosage form on demand in a fully automated fashion has been demonstrated. Polymethacrylate shells (Eudragit EPO and RL) for immediate and extended release were fabricated using FDM 3D printing and simultaneously filled using a computer-controlled liquid dispenser loaded with model drug solution (theophylline) or suspension (dipyridamole). The impact of printing modes: simultaneous shell printing and filling (single-phase) or sequential 3D printing of shell bottom, filling and shell cap (multi-phase), nozzle size, syringe volume, and shell structure has been reported. The use of shell thickness of 1.6 mm, and concentric architecture allowed successful containment of liquid core whilst maintaining the release properties of the 3D printed liquid capsule. The linear relationship between the theoretical and the actual volumes from the dispenser reflected its potential for accurate dosing (R2 = 0.9985). Modifying the shell thickness of Eudragit RL capsule allowed a controlled extended drug release without the need for formulation change. Owing to its low cost and versatility, this approach can be adapted to wide spectrum of liquid formulations such as small and large molecule solutions and obviate the need for compatibility with the high temperature of FDM 3D printing process. In a clinical setting, health care staff will be able to instantly manufacture in small volumes liquid capsules with individualised dose contents and release pattern in response to specific patient's needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-143
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2018


  • Capsules/chemistry
  • Delayed-Action Preparations/chemistry
  • Dipyridamole/chemistry
  • Drug Compounding/methods
  • Drug Liberation
  • Humans
  • Polymers/chemistry
  • Polymethacrylic Acids/chemistry
  • Precision Medicine
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional
  • Theophylline/chemistry


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