Zero-order release formulations are designed to release a drug at a constant rate over a prolonged time, thus reducing systemic side effects and improving patience adherence to the therapy. Such formulations are traditionally complex to manufacture, requiring multiple steps. In this work, fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing was explored to prepare on-demand printlets (3D printed tablets). The design includes a prolonged release core surrounded by an insoluble shell able to provide zero-order release profiles. The effect of drug loading (10, 25, and 40% w
paracetamol) on the mechanical and physical properties of the hot melt extruded filaments and 3D printed formulations was evaluated. Two different shell 3D designs (6 mm and 8 mm diameter apertures) together with three different core infills (100, 50, and 25%) were prepared. The formulations showed a range of zero-order release profiles spanning 16 to 48 h. The work has shown that with simple formulation design modifications, it is possible to print extended release formulations with tunable, zero-order release kinetics. Moreover, by using different infill percentages, the dose contained in the printlet can be infinitely adjusted, providing an additive manufacturing route for personalizing medicines to a patient.
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