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How taste-masking is changing the pharmaceutical industry?

How many times did you try to swallow a tablet and ended up not gulping it in the first go? Wondered why oral pills always need to leave behind bitterness once consumed?

Undesirable taste is one of the formulation problems that are encountered with certain drugs, and thankfully medicine companies are working to solve this.

Pharmaceutical companies in India have evolved paving the path to taste masking techniques. In this technique, the original bitter taste of the medicine is masked to overcome the unpleasant taste that is usually present. This is done to achieve the acceptability and compliance of the patients. The technique of taste masking is particularly more important in the pediatrics and geriatric category of drugs. The need for improved taste in these products has resulted in the development of numerous formulations with improved performance and acceptability.

How is the taste masking done?

The methods most commonly involved in achieving taste-masking include various chemical and physical methods. The primary way is to reduce the time of drug solubility and the secondary way is to modify the potential of the drug to interact with a taste receptor.

One of the simplest methods involves the use of flavour enhancers. If these methods fail due to formulation challenges, more complex methodologies are adopted. Various techniques have been introduced for taste masking which includes polymer coating, use of ion exchange resins, use of flavor enhancers, microencapsulation, etc.

Polymer coating

Coating is one of the most useful techniques for various drugs in the pharmaceutical field. By coordinating the right type of coating material, it is possible to completely mask the bitter taste of the drug while not affecting the intended drug release profile.

Use of ion exchange resins

Ion exchange resins (IER) have received attention in the pharmaceutical industry due to their versatile properties. Several ion exchange resin products for oral administration have been developed. Bitter drugs can be absorbed on ion exchange resins, thus effectively removing them from solution during the transit through the mouth. The drug remains intact while making it unavailable for a taste sensation.

Use of flavour enhancers

Addition of different flavors or sweeteners is considered as the simplest approach for taste masking in the pharmaceutical industry, especially in the case of the pediatric formulation. But, this approach was not very successful for highly bitter & highly water-soluble drugs. This approach is also used to improve the aesthetic appeal of the product especially to make it more attractive for the pediatric patient as well as used for the liquid formulation & the chewable tablets.

Microencapsulation

Microencapsulation process has been defined as a means of applying a relatively thin coating to small particles of solids and droplets of liquid. Various coating agents like gelatin, povidone, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, ethylcellulose, beeswax, carnauba wax, acrylics, and shellac are used in microencapsulating. Bitter drugs can be encapsulated to produce free-flowing microcapsules, which can later be blended with other excipients and compressed into tablets.

Thinoral Technology

These are oral soluble films (OSF) that are much easier to consume when compared with tablets, capsules, syrup or suspension. Due to the low weight of excipients, the weight of orally dissolving films is less . One of the major pros of OSF is the convenience of administration and ease of storage and ingestion. Popular amongst infants, these kinds of strips are soluble in nature dissolving the moment it comes in contact with the oral cavity. The rapidly dissolving, non-sticky oral soluble films have a capacity of 100 mg of the active drug. The faster release profile alleviates solubility issues in poorly soluble drugs. The easy soluble nature of the OSF makes it a very acceptable dosage form for patients. It has relatively higher rates of acceptance in emergency situations such as motion sickness, acute pain, etc.

About ZIM Laboratories

ZIM is an innovative drug delivery solution provider focusing on improving patient convenience and adherence to drug intake. We offer a range of technology-based drug delivery solutions and non-infringing proprietary manufacturing processes for the production and supply of innovative and differentiated generic pharmaceutical products to our customers globally. ZIM provides its customers with a comprehensive range of value-added solid dosage differentiated generic products in semi-finished and finished categories/formulations. These include granules, pellets (sustained, modified, extended-release), taste-masked powders, suspensions, tablets, capsules and very well known for Oral Thin Films (OTF).

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