Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles have developed a viable bioink made out of hyaluronic acid for 3D-printed pills.
In this study, researchers used an inket technique to 3D print the pills, citing the method’s speed and ability to print at room temperature. Its speed is important for scalability and mass production, while the ability to print at room temperature ensures that active pharmaceutical ingredients aren’t damaged in the process of printing.
The printable bioink is composed of hyaluronic acid, which is the primary component of skin and connective tissues. The researchers added a photoinitator to the acid so that it solidifies when it comes into contact with light.
The mixture of hyaluronic acid and photoinitator is used to fill preformed tablets, according to the team.
The hyaluronic acid is laced with Ropinirole hydrochloric acid – a stimulant used to treat muscle problems associated with Parkinson’s disease. The researchers chose Ropinirole hydrochloric acid as the active pharmaceutical ingredient for its hydrophilic properties, which makes it water-soluble and measurable as it dissolves.
The team used a piezoelectric nozzle to deposit the active pharmaceutical ingredient.
The researchers measured the pills’ dissolution rate in an acidic substance that mimicked stomach contents. Within 15 minutes, the pill released 60% of its contents and after another 15 minutes, an additional 20% was released. Drug release peaked at 1 hour, the team reported.
Improving translation between pharmaceutical substances and the 3D-printing process could establish 3D-printing as a viable method for pharmaceutical production, the team argued.