According to a recent report from Business Insider, the Food and Drug Administration is announcing the first 3D-printed pharmaceutical drug. The drug, used to treat seizures and manufactured by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, is designed to dissolve with very little additional water. This is revolutionary for patients who experience seizures that make them unable to swallow.
Dr. Marvin Rorick, a neurologist at Riverhills Neuroscience in Cincinnati, said in a press release:
“In my experience, patients and caregivers often have difficulty following a treatment regimen. Whether they are dealing with a swallowing disorder or the daily struggle of getting a child to take his or her medication, adherence can be a challenge. Especially for children and seniors, having an option for patients to take their medication as prescribed is important to managing this disease.”
This will be the first time that a drug made with 3D printing will be approved by the FDA, and marks a milestone in the road for personalized medicine. 3D printed drugs would allow specialists to engineer specifically customized versions of medications to meet the exact needs of an individual patient. Individuals who respond to different aspects of certain medications could have the option to tweak the medication to better fit their exact needs. Additionally, the ability to print drugs could lead to hybrid medications with lowered collective side effects.
3D printed pharmaceuticals would also be cheaper to produce, experts say. This means that soon, you may be able to find these 3D printed drugs at your local pharmacy or urgent care point-of-care dispensary, Which 48.6% of urgent care facilities have on site. However, it could also mean easier mass-production of illicit drugs. 3D printing binds the powders of the drug without compression, allowing a larger dose to be easily absorbed. Only time will tell how this technology will affect future drug production, legal and illegal.
Other advancements in 3D printing medicine have recently yielded 3D printed stem cells, skull replacements, and model fetuses.