A new pill used to control epileptic seizures has just been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the first to be pumped out by a 3D printer.
The drug, Spritam, is made with “ZipDose” 3D printing technology from pharmaceuticals company Aprecia.
Why print the stuff? “Being able to 3D print a tablet offers the potential to create bespoke drugs based on the specific needs of patients, rather than having a one product fits all approach,” the BBC reports. What’s more, as 3DPrint.com describes, it combines “the ease of consumption associated with liquid medicines with the precision of dosage only available in tablets.”
In other words, Spritam tablets pack in 1,000 milligrams of levetiracetam, a common epilepsy medication, but because it makes the pill super porous, it dissolves as soon as it meets liquid. It basically melts in your mouth—an easy pill to swallow.
Aprecia claims it’s the first and, so far, the only pharma company that produces 3D-printed medicine on a commercial scale. This isn’t the first 3D-printed product that humans have been putting in their bodies, however. We’ve seen 3D-printed surgical stents that improve blood flow, and even 3D-printed organs and bones.
Spritam will be available via prescription early next year.
Image via Aprecia