Is there anything 3D printing can’t do these days? From toys, to chocolate, to dog legs, to house parts. And now we even have 3D printed drugs. Now that in itself isn’t really a novel feat, considering 3D printed food. The success that Aprecia Pharmaceuticals achieved is in actually getting the US Food and Drug Administration to approve it. This makes its SPRITRAM seizure drug to be the first 3D printed medication to receive FDA approval, perhaps opening the doors to even more such products in the future.
SPRITAM is made using a proprietary 3D printing platform developed by Aprecia called ZipDose, what makes ZipDose special is ironically something that would be horrible in conventional 3D printers. The printer outputs a “porous formulation that rapidly disintegrates with a sip of liquid. In short, just a little water and it will dissolve. Imagine that for a 3D printed prosthetic.
The technology and platform itself is noteworthy but equally so is what it demonstrates. Previously just a hobbyist’s tool, 3D printing has become so widespread, developed, and accepted that it can now even be used for creating medicine that gets FDA approval. Of course, that Spider-Man cliche applies here as well. Power, responsibility. Although ZipDose is proprietary to Aprecia right now, it might only be a matter of time before someone is able to develop something similar for uses beyond legitimate medical purposes.
The ZipDose platform was noted to have taken its roots from 3D printing technology originating from MIT. Aprecia hasn’t gone into specifics, but SPRITAM will hardly be the only application for this technology. The company plans to develop more medicines that easily dissolve in water that makes absorption of the drug faster. SPRITAM itself won’t go on sale until the first quarter of 2016.