On-demand manufacturing of immediate release levetiracetam tablets using pressure-assisted microsyringe printing

European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 2019 Volume 134, Pages 29-36

Fast and accurate manufacturing of individually tailored solid dosage forms is one of the main challenges for personalized medicine. The use of 3D printers has recently been studied to determine their suitability for personalized drug manufacturing.

In the current work, formulations free of organic solvents were developed for a pressure-assisted microsyringe printing method (PAM). The water soluble polymer polyvinyl alcohol-polyethylene glycol graft copolymer (PVA-PEG) was used as matrix, while levetiracetam (LEV) was used as model drug. Furthermore, the influence of a second polymer, polyvinylpyrrolidone-vinyl acetate copolymer (PVP-PVAc) on the properties of the printed tablets was investigated. Tablets were printed using a 3D-Bioplotter. The printed formulations were analyzed regarding mass variation, friability and thickness. Furthermore, the disintegration behavior and dissolution profile were analyzed. Investigations of the dissolution profiles of printed tablets show that an immediate release of the API could be achieved. For tablets with PVA-PEG the drug is released completely within 10 min while the additional use of PVP-PVAc leads to a slightly delay with a complete release within 20 min. The same trend is observed regarding the disintegration time of printed tablets. Tablets with PVA-PEG disintegrated within 95 ± 10 s while tablets with additional PVP-PVAc disintegrated within 130 ± 20 s.

Friability of <0.5% indicate that the used PAM printing method provides tablets without loss of structural integrity during handling. Furthermore, it could be shown that the production of tablets with a good content uniformity using a 3D Bioplotter is suitable.