How are medicinal tablets made?

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The process of making medicinal tablets involves mixing, granulating, pressing, and coating. Different medicines require different processes, with wet and dry granulation being the main forms. Tablets are compressed and often coated for protection and better taste.

The manufacturing process of medicinal tablets involves several major steps, including mixing or granulating materials, lubricating, pressing, and film coating. Different medicines require different tablet manufacturing processes because sometimes proper homogeneous mixing requires additional steps. The tablets require the correct dosage of the active ingredient and proper mixing, which includes evenly distributed ingredients in appropriate quantities.

One of the simplest strategies for making tablets is to mix the ingredients together. Blending processes generally occur when the ingredients are in powder form and require machines to blend them at high speeds. If the mixing techniques are not adequate, the granulation processes will be implemented in the manufacturing process of the medicinal tablets.

The two main forms of granulation are wet granulation and dry granulation. During a wet granulation process, powdered ingredients are combined with a liquid, known as a binder. The binder can be organic or aqueous and should avoid inactivating the drug and should also be carefully measured to ensure the best granule consistency and strength. Once mixed, the granules undergo a sieving process to eliminate oversized aggregates, followed by a drying process.

Dry granulation is also often used in a tablet manufacturing process and involves creating granules using compacting methods. It produces smaller pellets than wet granulation, generally costs less, and is primarily used for materials that react adversely to moisture. After both granulation processes, the medicine is lubricated with a powdered form of common fatty acids, such as stearic acid.

Once the powder or granules have been formed, the materials are compressed into tablet form in a compacting machine or press. This usually involves both a pre-compression phase and a compression phase, which are performed at high speeds ranging from 50 to 500 milliseconds. Several factors can negatively impact tablet formation, including uneven powder weight or density distribution, stickiness, and lack of lubricants and substandard machinery, which could potentially chip or damage newly formed tablets.

The tablets are also often coated with a blend of polysaccharides for protection and better taste. Not only do the coatings protect the drug and lengthen its shelf life, but they also protect the lining of the esophagus and stomach from some harsher drugs because tablets that take longer to dissolve reduce stomach irritation. Many tablets also contain grooves or markers that allow the pill to be split. Specialized machines are capable of dividing previously manufactured tablets to vary the dosage in each pill.

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