Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin

3D Printing Factors Important for the Fabrication of Polyvinylalcohol Filament-Based Tablets.

PMID 28250279


Three-dimensional (3D) printers have been applied in many fields, including engineering and the medical sciences. In the pharmaceutical field, approval of the first 3D-printed tablet by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015 has attracted interest in the manufacture of tablets and drugs by 3D printing techniques as a means of delivering tailor-made drugs in the future. In current study, polyvinylalcohol (PVA)-based tablets were prepared using a fused-deposition-modeling-type 3D printer and the effect of 3D printing conditions on tablet production was investigated. Curcumin, a model drug/fluorescent marker, was loaded into PVA-filament. We found that several printing parameters, such as the rate of extruding PVA (flow rate), can affect the formability of the resulting PVA-tablets. The 3D-printing temperature is controlled by heating the print nozzle and was shown to affect the color of the tablets and their curcumin content. PVA-based infilled tablets with different densities were prepared by changing the fill density as a printing parameter. Tablets with lower fill density floated in an aqueous solution and their curcumin content tended to dissolve faster. These findings will be useful in developing drug-loaded PVA-based 3D objects and other polymer-based articles prepared using fused-deposition-modeling-type 3D printers.