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Tablets

Tablets are made by the compression molding of fine powders and granules, and have been used for medicinal products since the latter part of the 19th century.
As the production method is relatively simple, this formulation is suited to mass production. Tablets cover 30% of the total production output for medicinal products, and it is a popular product form for health foods. In addition to medicinal products, tablets have a variety of uses as, for example, confectionaries, detergents, chemicals and industrial catalysts.

Tablet varieties

Plain tablets

A basic tablet is made simply by compression formation that adds bulking agents, binding agents (materials that preserve the physical strength of the tablet during transport and storage), disintegrating agents (materials that promote prompt disintegration in the body), coloring agents, flavorings and more to the target active ingredient as necessary. The size and shape can be freely altered by changing the mold.

Membrane-coated tablets

Uncoated tablets are coated with a macromolecular membrane with the purpose of providing enteric and other special soluble characteristics that can mask offensive tastes and smells, and can protect components that are unstable to light and moisture.
The raw materials for the membrane can be selected from among natural resins (shellac), corn protein (zein), cellulose HPC and HPMC, and the dietary fiber yeast wrap, depending on the requirements.

Sugar-coated tabletss

A sugar coating is applied to an uncoated tablet in order to shield the offensive tastes and smells of the raw materials, to protect unstable components, and to improve the appearance. We are now able to lower caloric content by applying a sugar-free coating, and we can produce a small-size, thin-layer sugar coated tablet.

Chewable tablets/orally-disintegrating tablets

These tablets, which can be chewed or dissolved by licking, are selected when the dosage each time is high or when the tablet size is increased for flavoring purposes. This type of tablet is convenient in that it can be taken without water. Orally-disintegrating tablets are designed so that they quickly disintegrate inside the mouth, and, in the same way as chewable tablets, they are suitable for those who find it hard to swallow tablets and for use with materials that work in the oral or that can be absorbed inside the mouth.

Strengths of tablets

1. Easy to swallow

This is an easy-to-swallow form given that powder is compressed at high pressure, which produces a high level of relative weight in small sizes, and because it has a smooth surface.

2. Diverse shapes

Aside from molded round shapes, it is also possible to select various shapes such as triangular and football-type shapes.
Letters and patterns can also be printed onto tablets.

3. Many examples of functional tablets

There are many examples of medicinal products in tablet form to which functions have been applied in order to control the time and place of medicine emission, such enteric and sustained-release tablets, and some of these pharmaceutical production technologies are also used for health-foods. There are also products that can be tasted in the mouth, such as chewable tablets and troches.

4. Membrane-coated/sugar-coated tablets can be produced

The following advantages can be obtained with membrane coating or sugar coating.

・Taste/color/smell can be masked.

・Powder drop page can be prevented.

・Beautiful appearance can be achieved.

・Possible to ensure that tablets reach intestine and dissolve there, rather than dissolving inside the stomach.

・Possible to protect ingredients that are not stable in light or water.v

Tablet manufacturing method

General preservation/storage conditions for health-foods

Except for special items, health-foods (soft capsules, hard capsules, seamless capsules, tablets, granules, jellies and mini-drinks) are normally kept at room temperature, and even from the perspective of the composition of contents and changes in appearance, etc., it is necessary to avoid high temperatures and high humidity, as well as sudden changes in temperature, and as with general foodstuffs, efforts should be made to keep health-foods in stable and secure conditions. In general, the following conditions are desirable.
◎Temperature 30℃ max.
◎Humidity RH60% max.
◎Light
◎Oxygen (air) (avoid placing inside vehicle, on vehicle dashboard/trunk, or in bag, etc.)
(Avoid kitchens/drainage area and places where rust/mold easily occur)
(Avoid direct sunlight)
(After opening, firmly close stopper or fastener, etc. to prevent contact with air)
Detailed preservation/storage conditions are described below.
Tablets

(1) Changes in the appearance of tablets

In general, tablets should preferably be stored at normal temperatures (15-25°c) with a relative humidity of 40-60%. However, condensation can cause moisture to be left behind if they are taken in and out of refrigeration, which may cause a change in color. Cooling may also cause the quality to deteriorate, so it is best to avoid storage in a refrigerator or freezer. Caution is required as uncoated tablets have a shorter storage period than capsules.

① Uncoated tablets

If stored in a very humid location, uncoated tablets, which are susceptible to the effects of open air and external pressure, will change color due to the humidity, and strong impacts (vibrations during transportation, etc.) may cause the tablets to break up or to crack.

② Coated tablets

Conditions vary according to the coating materials, but the coating layer may dissolve causing the tablets to stick to each other if stored at high temperatures for a long time.

③ Sugar-coated tablets

The surface of sugar-coated tablets may break apart is there is a strong impact from an external source, of if they are stored for an extended period in extremely dry conditions. The tablet may also expand and crack if stored in a very humid location.

(2) Stability of ingredients

The stability of tablet ingredients varies according to the ingredients. Coating layers are suitable for tablets that contain highly absorbent ingredients and ingredients that oxidize easily. Our original in-house “Tablate®” formulation and sugar-coating tablets are suitable for flavor masking.

(3) Summary of tablet preservation and storage conditions

As mentioned above for other formulations, tablet products should preferably be stored at normal temperatures (15-25 °c) with a relative humidity of 40-60%. As far as possible, please avoid high temperature/high humidity and low temperature/low humidity conditions.

Tablet Q&A

1. What is a tablet?
2. Why use tablets?
3. Does the storage/handling of tablets require special attention?
4. The color of the tablet seems to be slightly different from the previous product…
5. The color of the tablet surface and the inside seems to be slightly different…
6. Does the tablet surface break?

Q1. What is a tablet?

A. Tablets formed by compression molding powders and granules have a long history and were invented in the era of Romans by the Roman physician Claudius Galenus. In the latter part of the 19th century, new tablet machines were developed due to the remarkable progress of tablet-forming technology, which led to the production of compression tablets similar to the formations in general use today.
This formulation suits mass production because the production method is relatively simple. Tablets cover 30% of the total production output of medicinal products, and it is a popular product form for health-foods. In addition to medicinal products, tablets have a variety of uses such as confectionaries, detergents, chemicals and industrial catalysts.

Q2. Why use tablets?

A. Tablets are compressions of powders and granules into a fixed shape, and can be taken on their own, which makes them ideal in terms of convenience. Tablets are advantageous in that they are suited to mass production, easy to take, easy to handle and the dosage can be controlled easily.
The high-pressure compression of powders means that tablets have the characteristics of being compact but with a high relative weight, and that they are easy to consume due to the smooth surface. Depending on the mold, different shapes can be selected, and letters and patterns can be imprinted.
Plain tablets give off the taste and smell of the raw materials, but they can be masked using a coating. For example, tablets with unpleasant bitter flavors and that contain strong smelling raw materials are easier to take if a sugar coating is applied.
In comparison to other formations, tablets have the most uses and each variety has different characteristics, including uncoated tablets, sugar coated tablets, enteric coated tablets, and sustained release tablets.

Q3. Does the storage/handling of tablets require special attention?

A. As with other food products, high temperatures and high levels of humidity should be avoided and tablets should be stored away from direct sunlight once opened, tablets should be consumed quickly.
Some types of tablets like troche types should be dissolved orally, while other types can be chewed and eaten due to the delicious added flavor. Some tablets use raw materials that are bitter or that provide stimulation. Various plans to utilize the special qualities of the raw materials are made in the production stage, so the usage cautions must be thoroughly read and the instructions followed before consumption.
Condensation may cause moisture to appear on the tablets if they are taken in and out of refrigeration. Freezers may cause the tablets to deteriorate, so storage in refrigerators (5°c – 10°c) or freezers (-10°c or below) should be avoided. Caution is needed with uncoated tablets as they have a shorter storage period than capsules.

Q4. The color of the tablet seems to be slightly different from the previous product…

A. Products containing raw materials derived from natural materials may vary in color at the time of arrival. In particular, colors are not regulated using colorings, etc., so the appearance of the tablets may be different to that of previous products. We appreciate your understanding as such minor differences in color do not affect the composition or quality of the tablet.

Q5. The color of the tablet surface and the inside seems to be slightly different…

A. Tablets are fine powders and granules compressed into a fixed shape. Uncoated tablets will absorb moisture if exposed to the air, and may turn brown. Also, caution is required during storage as powder that forms due to friction between tablets in the container may stick to the tablet surface.
Please consult the R&D department at Sunsho Pharmaceutical for information about the various types of production technology that minimize the effects of moisture and friction.

Q6. Does the tablet surface break?

A. External forces such as vibrations and impacts on the tablets during transportation may scratch the surface, and cause cracks and chips. Also, powder that forms due to friction between tablets in the container may stick to the tablet surface. Mechanical strength increases when hardness is increased, but this inhibits disintegration in the body, so the hardness cannot be increased beyond reason.
Hardness varies according to the shape, size and weight of the tablet, and by the characteristics of the powder. Please contact the R&D department at Sunsho Pharmaceutical for information about the various production methods for consideration depending on the characteristics of the raw materials.
Although minor chips and scratches may be a problem aesthetically, they do not have any effect in terms of safety, so the product can be consumed with peace of mind.
The above details are general information based on various publications, literary information, and internal research publications and experience. The information may differ depending on the product. For specific examples, please contact the sales department at Sunsho Pharmaceutical.

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