If you are a believer in the future of 3-D printing, as I am, you believe just about anything can be printed. At the 3D Printing Conference and Expo in New York earlier this year, I saw printed shoes, chocolate pretzels, jewelry, teeth, and the fenders of a car. I have to admit, I had not thought about printing pills. Why do we need 3-D printed pills? The answer is some pills are large and difficult to swallow by children and elderly suffering from epilepsy. Aprecia Pharmaceuticals Company in Blue Ash, Ohio developed a technology to produce a porous formulation of SPRITAM® (levetiracetam) which rapidly disintegrates with a sip of liquid. The new drug should increase adherence significantly.
Adherence to prescribed medications is a large problem costing hundreds of billions of dollars. A patient who skips doses may incur more doctor visits and prolonged treatments. In Health Attitude, I discussed other technologies to improve adherence. One of them uses a small chip incorporated in a pill which communicates with an iPhone.