The development and optimisation of gastro-retentive floating tablets using fused deposition modelling 3D printing

Sinmisola A. Oladeji, Suha M. Dadou, Min Zhao, Shu Li, David S. Jones, Gavin P Andrews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


To develop a robust tablet design for the manufacture of gastro-retentive tablets using fused deposition modelling three-dimensional printing (FDM-3DP) that can provide prolonged gastric residence time with instant floating and minimum influence of process and/or formulation variables.

Three different polymers, such as polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) and Soluplus were used, separately, for the manufacture of tablets using FDM-3DP. Tablets were designed in a sandwich model that included voids in the internal structure to support buoyancy.

Key findings
Fabricated tablets from all polymers were instantly buoyant with no floating lag time. Floating duration was in the order: HPC > Soluplus > PVA which can be explained by the density of the tablets. PVA tablets exhibited significantly (P < 0.05) higher density values (0.86 ± 0.02 mg/mm3) than HPC and Soluplus (0.69 ± 0.03 and 0.72 ± 0.02 mg/mm3, respectively). HPC and Soluplus showed similar zero-order drug release profiles (f2 > 50) and were able to sustain the release of theophylline for 12 h, whereas complete drug release was achieved from PVA tablets after 3 h.

Robust gastro-retentive tablets that show instant buoyancy regardless of the polymeric carrier type and composition were successfully manufactured utilising FDM-3DP. This allows for overcoming the restrictions posed by process/formulation parameters on the floatability of gastro-retentive tablets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1450-1466
JournalJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Issue number10
Early online date07 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2022


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