Mar 22, 2016 | By Benedict

Being diagnosed with epilepsy can be hard to swallow. However, thanks to a new 3D printed wonder drug, its medication need not be. Aprecia Pharmaceuticals today announced the immediate availability of SPRITAM (levetiracetam), an easily swallowable seizure treatment manufactured using 3D printing technology. In August 2015, the drug became the first 3D printed medicine to receive FDA approval.

Many people believe that 3D printing will always be at its most useful when applied within the medical world. The technology is already widely used within the field to create customized prostheses and surgical models, and researchers believe that functional, bioprinted human organs could be just around the corner. Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, based in Langhorne, Philadelphia, is making its own contribution to the medical 3D printing revolution, by doing something no other company is currently doing on a mass scale: creating 3D printed drugs.

In August 2015, the FDA approved SPRITAM, Aprecia's 3D printed epilepsy drug, which was created using the pharmaceutical company’s proprietary ZipDose Technology—a combination of 3D printing and formulation science which is able to produce rapidly disintegrating formulations of medications. Originally developed at M.I.T., the technology can be used to make easier-to-swallow drugs, reducing swallowing challenges for the 40-50% of U.S. adults who have experienced difficulty swallowing tablets and capsules. The newly available SPRITAM demonstrates this useful function, disintegrating in the mouth with just a small sip of liquid.

While the ZipDose Technology could be used to produce several kinds of medication, SPRITAM has been engineered to treat epilepsy. Almost three million U.S. residents were living with epilepsy in 2013, with around 150,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Aprecia’s 3D printed SPRITAM medication is designed to tackle partial onset seizures, myoclonic seizures and primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures, combining effective medicinal properties with an innovative approach to its ingestion.

"As we explored potential applications for our 3D printing technology in prescription drug products, it was important that we identified disease areas with a real need for patient-friendly forms of medication," said Don Wetherhold, CEO of Aprecia. "SPRITAM is designed to transform what it is like to take epilepsy medication, and is the first in a line of products we are developing to provide patients and their caregivers with additional treatment options."

SPRITAM is available in four unit-dose strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 750 mg and 1,000 mg. It is suitable for the treatment of partial onset seizures in people 4 years of age and older, myoclonic seizures in people 12 years of age and older with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, and primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures in people 6 years of age and older with certain types of generalized epilepsy. The 3D printed drug is only recommended for those weighing 20kg (44 lbs) or more.

While Aprecia is the only pharmaceutical company currently producing 3D printing medicines on a mass scale, other laboratories are preparing to follow suit. For more details, read our article about how 3D printed pills are personalizing medicine.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Joe Friday wrote at 5/3/2016 9:37:13 PM:

it's against the law to not have insurance. They have you now!

Douglas contact me at 772 528-8088 wrote at 3/23/2016 5:26:44 PM:

I have been diagnosed with epilepsy I'm currently taking carbamazepine I don't have insurance there has to be a way to get my medication for free

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