Photo by tyfihi

Instead of manufacturing medications separately, what if drug companies could “print” pharmaceutical ingredients directly onto pills, much like ink is printed on paper? Researchers at the University of Leeds, Durham University and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have developed an ultra-efficient technique for printing medicine onto pills — and they think it could work for up to 40% of all medication.

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The process uses medicine droplets (similar to ink droplets) placed on pills. This makes the drugs faster-acting — since the active ingredients are on the surface of the pill, the digestive system doesn’t have to break the pill down for it to start working. Another advantage: multiple medications can be printed on one pill. So patients that might normally have to swallow 5 pills every evening might only have to take one pill with multiple imprints.

No word on when the printing process might be commercialized. But once it is, it could change the way we think about the pills we take every day.

+ University of Leeds

Via ScienceDaily