FDA approves first 3D printed drug

This was all over the web yesterday, so I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but this is huge. 3D printing is one of those technologies that has the potential to disrupt just about every industry it touches. It’s not often that you can say that. The most recent technologies that I can think of that had that kind of impact was the explosion of smartphones and tablets, which are now ubiquitous across every industry you can imagine.


The medication is not new, but the dosage form developed by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals is. The drug, levetiracetam is used for partial onset seizures, myoclonic seizures, and primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures. The specific dosage form is a tablet produced by using a layering technique similar to what is seen with common 3D printing. The product goes by the name SPRITAM, and can be used to deliver doses of up to 1,000mg of levetiracetam per tablet.

According to the Aprecia Pharmaceuticals site, “SPRITAM utilizes Aprecia’s proprietary ZipDose® Technology platform, a groundbreaking advance that uses three-dimensional printing (3DP) to produce a porous formulation that rapidly disintegrates with a sip of liquid.”

This is the first product of its kind to be approved by the FDA. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on because the potential for 3D printed medications is off the charts.

If you’re interesting in learning more about 3D printing in medicine, there’s a good article at The Pharmaceutical Journal.

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