3D printed tablets with internal scaffold structure using ethyl cellulose to achieve sustained ibuprofen release


The object of this study is to prepare and evaluate tablets with predesigned internal scaffold structure using 3D printing to achieve sustained drug release. Model drug (ibuprofen) and sustained release material (ethyl cellulose), together with other excipients, were firstly mixed and extruded into filaments by hot melt extrusion. Then these obtained filaments were printed into tablets by fused deposition modeling. The tablets printability and drug release behavior were influenced by drug content, release modifiers, printing parameters and modeling. An optimized and completed drug release within 24 h was achieved by adding certain amount of release modifiers and by adjusting the fill pattern, fill density and shell thickness of models. Drug release profiles and tablet integrity by scanning electron microscope indicated that drug released from these printed tablets through a diffusion-erosion mechanism. All results demonstrated that 3D printing is a highly adjustable and digitally controllable technology that can be applied to produce release-tailored medications.



Sustained release tablets with internal scaffold structure were fabricated using 3D printing technology based on HME and FDM processes. Drug content, release modifiers, fill density and shell thickness had influence on the drug release behavior. Drug content, printing temperature, print speed, layer height, fill density and shell thickness had influence on the printing shape and quality. A controllable 24 h sustained drug release behavior was achieved by adding release modifiers and adjusting the scaffold structure of models. These findings demonstrated that HME combined with FDM is promising in producing sustained release dosage forms.

Ibuprofen loaded sustained release polymer EC could be printed into tablets via FDM technology. The FDM printability was greatly affected by the melt rheology and mechanical property of filaments fed into the FDM printer. The influence of formulation (carrier, plasticizer and hardener) and printing parameters (temperature, speed and driving force) on printability should be further explored.


Graphic with the three stages modeling, preparing and dissolution of internal scaffold structre tablets
3D Printing of internal scaffold structure tablets