A team of researcher from the UK and from Spain are evaluating the potential of 3D printing in pharmaceuticals. Printing braille on printlets (printed tablets) is a great idea and fits perfectly for patent specific treatments for the visually impaired, this will help with dosage errors as well as, helping the patient feel independent and keep up with their medications.
“Previous studies revealed that one of the leading causes of medication non-adherence was impaired vision, wherein approximately 97% of patients with visual impairment have difficulties reading medication labels, even in the presence of optical aids, and around 24% have difficulties in distinguishing medications,” stated the researchers. “Moreover, patients with visual impairment are twice more likely to need assistance with medicine management, wherein one-third of the patients will require continual support for medication administration.”
The team printed braille ‘the universal tactile writing system,’ and the Moon system, a Roman Latin system made up of raised shapes similar to the alphabet, directly on tablets of Paracetamol for a test batch.
“Moreover, as these printlets are designed to disintegrate rapidly in the mouth, they do not require the co-administration of water,” said the researchers. “As such, this encourages self-administration of medicines, improving patient compliance and treatment efficacy.”
The team also noted that adding the braille added weight to the printlets, a single braille dot increased the weight by 3.9 percent.
“Favorably, this technology offers the added benefit of using different shapes that could be inferred to a medication’s name, timing of intake (e.g., morning/evening), or its targeted indication (e.g., cardiovascular drugs),” concluded the researchers. “More importantly, as the pattern is directly printed on top of the tablet, the medication could be easily identified even when taken out of the packaging. This decreases the risk of medication errors and improves adherence to treatment. In addition, as these printlets disintegrate rapidly (e.g., within ~5 s), they avoid the need for water. This makes it easier for these patients to swallow the formulations, supporting self-administration and thus avoiding the need of a career.
“For the first time, this study demonstrates the use of 3D printing to fabricate personalized dosage forms targeted to blind or visually impaired individuals. The SLS 3D printing technique could be used to manufacture printlets with Braille or Moon patterns on their surface that could be read by blind individuals. It is likely that this innovative concept will provide a revolutionary approach for the treatment of visually impaired individuals, improving independence, medicine adherence and reducing medicine errors.”
O’Neal, Bridget. “3D Printed Tablets Topped with Braille & Moon Patterns Help Visually Impaired Improve in Taking Medication – 3DPrint.Com: The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.” 3DPrint.Com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing, 11 Mar. 2020, 3dprint.com/264137/3d-printed-tablets-topped-with-braille-moon-patterns-help-visually-impaired-improve-in-taking-medication/.