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According to new research, 3D printed tablets could deter opioid abusers from misusing pharmaceuticals. A team from St. John’s University, New York, designed and tested egg-shaped thermoplastic shapes that make it difficult to misuse strong prescription drugs.
These egg-shaped tablets, dubbed “egglets”, were developed and assessed by Doctors Pavan Kumar Nukala, Siddhant Palekar, Manali Patki and Ketan Patel. The 3D printed pills passed the majority of tests for abuse deterrent opioids as described in FDA guidance.
Abuse - Deterrent - Opioids - Researchers - Template
Abuse deterrent opioids are altered to make them harder to take recreationally. The researchers opted for an egg-shaped template, reminiscent of the hard outer shell of an egg. They felt that this shape would deter drug abusers from attempting to tamper with the pills.
The egglets were made of drug-loaded polymeric filaments, prepared using hot melt extrusion (HME). These were converted into solid dosage form, using a desktop FDM 3D printer.
Left - Egglets - Crushing - Test - Right
Left: Egglets before the crushing test. Right: Egglets after being crushed at maximum force. Photo via AAPS PharmSciTech.
The effects of opioid misuse vary, depending on how they are taken. Opioids can be ingested, inhaled or injected, and the highest number of overdose deaths are caused by inhaling or injecting. Prescribed medication is often designed to be ingested for this reason. Snorting can destroy tissue in the nose or mouth, and injection carries the risk of blood-borne infections.
Drug - Drug - Misusers - Use - Research
If a drug appears to be too difficult to abuse, drug misusers may be less likely to attempt recreational use. Research on this is mixed, with findings from the National Opioid Medication Abuse Deterrence (NOMAD) study concluding that tamper-resistant oxycodone reduced rates of injection among people who inject drugs. In addition, there was no evidence that these users switched to other opioids. A May 2018 study in The Journal of Anaesthesiology concluded that ADFs “will likely benefit a relatively small subset...
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