Liquid capsules: the next big thing?

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Capsules, Viscosity, Pharmacology

Isopak, a company specialising in small-scale pharmaceutical
production equipment, will introduce a new machine next month that
overcomes one of the major obstacles to making capsules that can
deliver liquid medications.

The firm, which acts as the UK representative for Italian machinery company Dott Bonapace, believes the new system will accelerate the development of liquid capsules, which have advantages over powders in terms of drug delivery, according to Robin Davies, Isopak's managing director.

"How a drug is delivered into the body is almost as important as the drug itself, and the liquid form is now the firm favourite,"​ he said at the TOTAL 2004 exhibition last week. "It can be targeted at specific sites and it can mean longer periods of time can elapse between doses,"​ he added.

The new system overcomes one of the biggest areas of concern - that surrounding a safe and secure method of getting liquid into capsules without leakage, he said.

Whilst the filling of capsules with liquid has been around for some time, the use of this type of dosage form has been held back by the leakage issue, as well as safety codes which insist on stricter conditions for the testing of liquid rather than powder capsules in clinical trials.

The development of a liquid filling module for Dott Bonapace's In-Cap machine at least overcomes the formulation barrier to liquid capsules, providing fill weights in a range of 0.15 to 1000mg for hot, cold and viscous liquids. It is intended for use alongside another recently introduced machine - the Bonapace BD 3000 capsule bander - which seals the capsules without leakage.

"There's a huge amount of interest in it because liquid really seems to be the way forward,"​ said Davies. "Everyone wants to go down that road in terms of drug delivery systems. But at the same time nobody seems prepared to invest around £750,000 (€1.13bn) to install a system for putting liquids into capsules that at the end of the day might not be foolproof."

The In-Cap can handle volumes of up to 3,000 capsules an hour and costs just £20,000, he noted. It is intended for use in pharmacies, hospitals and R&D laboratories for clinical trials, small batch and special productions.

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