Virtual Prototyping and Parametric Design of 3D-Printed Tablets Based on the Solution of Inverse Problem


The problem of designing tablet geometry and its internal structure that results into a specified release profile of the drug during dissolution was considered. A solution method based on parametric programming, inspired by CAD (computer-aided design) approaches currently used in other fields of engineering, was proposed and demonstrated. The solution of the forward problem using a parametric series of structural motifs was first carried out in order to generate a library of drug release profiles associated with each structural motif. The inverse problem was then solved in three steps: first, the combination of basic structural motifs whose superposition provides the closest approximation of the required drug release profile was found by a linear combination of pre-calculated release profiles. In the next step, the final tablet design was constructed and its dissolution curve found computationally. Finally, the proposed design was 3D printed and its dissolution profile was confirmed experimentally. The computational method was based on the numerical solution of drug diffusion in a boundary layer surrounding the tablet, coupled with erosion of the tablet structure encoded by the phase volume function. The tablets were 3D printed by fused deposition modelling (FDM) from filaments produced by hot-melt extrusion. It was found that the drug release profile could be effectively controlled by modifying the tablet porosity. Custom release profiles were obtained by combining multiple porosity regions in the same tablet. The computational method yielded accurate predictions of the drug release rate for both single- and multi-porosity tablets.

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The authors would like to thank Zentiva, k.s., for supporting this work. M.N. ant T.B. would like to acknowledge financial support by Specific University Research (MSMT 21-SVV/2018).

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Correspondence to František Štěpánek.

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Guest Editors: Niklas Sandler and Jukka Rantanen

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Novák, M., Boleslavská, T., Grof, Z. et al. Virtual Prototyping and Parametric Design of 3D-Printed Tablets Based on the Solution of Inverse Problem. AAPS PharmSciTech 19, 3414–3424 (2018).

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  • 3D printing
  • hot-melt extrusion
  • parametric programming
  • dissolution
  • mathematical modelling