The first FDA-approved 3D-printed drug dissolves almost instantly in water

fda approves spritam 3d printed drug epilepsy pill spitram
The idea of 3D-printed drugs has been floating around for a few years now, but this week it became more than just an idea. After months of testing, the US Food and Drug Administration has given its seal of approval to a new drug called Spritam (levetiracetam) — a rapid-dissolving 3D-printed tablet designed for the treatment of epileptic seizures.

The groundbreaking new drug, developed by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals Company, makes use of the company’s new ZipDose technology — a proprietary technique that utilizes additive manufacturing techniques (yes, that’s 3D printing) to produce a porous tablet that disintegrates quickly with just a sip of water. Quick-dissolve tablets are nothing new at this point, but Aprecia’s ZipDose tablets take things to a whole new level. Rather than disintegrating in minutes like currently-available drugs, Spritam dissolves in a matter of seconds — allowing it to enter the bloodstream that much faster. Just check out the video; they actually had to slow it down so you can see the process clearly.

“By combining 3DP technology with a highly-prescribed epilepsy treatment, Spritam is designed to fill a need for patients who struggle with their current medication experience,” Aprecia CEO Don Wetherhold said in a release. “This is the first in a line of central nervous system products Aprecia plans to introduce as part of our commitment to transform the way patients experience taking medication.”

The awesome thing about this is that, thanks to this innovative 3D printing technique, Aprecia can actually make tablets with specific dosages that are tailored to each individual patient. ZipDose tablets can be custom-made to deliver anywhere from 10 to 1,000 milligrams of a given drug in a single dose — making them ideal for children and adults who find it difficult to swallow large pills. It basically melts in your mouth.

Spritam isn’t ready for primetime quite yet, but Aprecia — the first (and only) pharmaceutical company to produce 3D-printed medicine on a commercial scale –says that the drug is expected to become available sometime in the first quarter of 2016.

Health & Fitness

JLABS injects some tech into the medical industry

Innovating health care is expensive, risky, and complicated legally. One company is trying to remove these barriers with clever and altruistic approach.
Emerging Tech

Sticking these tiny needles in your eye may help fight blindness

An eye patch covered in tiny needles sounds like a torture device. In fact, it's a potential new medical treatment for eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Shipping crate filled with 3D-printing robots may be the future of construction

Autodesk has created a robot-filled shipping container which may represent the future of construction work. The crate contains two robots able to 3D print custom components for building sites.
Emerging Tech

Watch this lab-grown heart tissue beat just like the real thing

A team of researchers in Germany have used stem cells to create a lab-grown human heart tissue which actually beats, as well as responding to drugs in the same way as the real thing.
Emerging Tech

Pairs of supermassive black holes spotted in colliding galaxies

Astronomers have discovered several pairs of supermassive black holes in galaxies that are colliding with each other. These black holes will spiral closer and closer together and eventually merge into one supermassive black hole.
Emerging Tech

Quantum-based accelerometer can locate objects without GPS

Researchers have created a quantum "compass" that allows navigation without satellites. The instrument, technically called a standalone quantum accelerometer, is small enough to be transportable and has a very high level of accuracy.
Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Emerging Tech

Ancient continent discovered beneath the ice of Antarctica

Antarctica could be hiding the remains of a long-lost continent. Scientists created a 3D map of the crust beneath the Antarctic ice sheet which shows a similarity to the crust in Australia and India, suggesting they used to be joined.
Emerging Tech

Rocket Lab steps into spotlight with its first commercial rocket launch

Rocket Lab has deployed multiple small satellites into orbit in its first notable commercial launch. Its New Zealand-born boss said the success means "rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites."
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Emerging Tech

Bottle-flipping robots may be the most millennial thing we’ve ever seen

Until drones start vaping, you're unlikely to see anything more millennial than a recent contest in Japan in which robots competed to pull off some seriously impressive bottle-flipping feats.
Emerging Tech

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work

Elon Musk has the dream of building a network for conveying internet traffic via thousands of satellites. A new simulation created by a computer scientist looks at how feasible the idea is.
Cars

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Emerging Tech

Meet the 4K selfie drone that folds like a book, follows you like a paparrazzo

Having a drone that could follow you everywhere while taking high-quality images without crashing has been a flight of fantasy. With ZeroZero's Hover 2, not only can you have a fully autonomous 4K selfie drone, you can have it for $400.