| Health & Wellness Reflections |

Exploring the World of Tablets: A Comprehensive Guide to Pharmaceutical Wonders

12 May, 2023
Compounding Pharmacy , Functional Medicine , Medication , pharmaceutical ,

The world of pharmaceutical tablets is fascinating, versatile, and extremely vital to modern medicine. In this article, we’ll delve into the history, various types, and the detailed process of creating these medicinal tablets. Get ready to be transported into the incredible world of tablets, as we unpack their journey from humble beginnings to modern, life-changing substances.

The Birth of Tablets: A Glimpse into Their Past

Dating back to 1500 BC, the earliest pills were originally made from bread dough, honey, or grease mixed with medicinal ingredients, like plant powders or spices. People in ancient Greece referred to these medicines as “katapotia” (meaning “something to be swallowed”), later coined as “pilula” by the Roman scholar Pliny.

Pills evolved over time, with medieval people coating them in slippery plant substances for easy swallowing. In the 1800s, sugar-coating and gelatin-coating emerged, along with the invention of gelatin capsules. Nowadays, tablets dominate the landscape of pharmaceutical oral solid dosage forms and continue to revolutionize medicine.

Unveiling the Tablet Types


Original pills were small, round, solid pharmaceutical oral dosage forms. Today, the term “pill” is widely used to cover tablets and capsules, with any solid oral form of medication falling into the “pill” category.


Caplets are smooth, coated, oval-shaped medicinal tablets designed to resemble a capsule. The caplet makes swallowing easier as it has an indentation running down the middle, allowing for easy splitting.

Orally Disintegrating Tablets (ODT)

These drug dosage forms are available for a limited range of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications, designed to disintegrate upon contact with saliva.

Film Coated Tablets (FCT)

The film protects the drug substance against denaturation from stomach acid and may support a delayed or modified release of the drug substance. Crushing or chewing these tablets is not advised.

The Intricacies of Tablet Formulation

In the tablet-pressing process, it is essential to have ingredients that are dry, powdered or granular, and uniform in particle size. Maintaining content uniformity ensures that each tablet delivers the same active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) dose.

Tablet formulations typically include excipients, which are inactive ingredients serving as binders to give the tablet strength. Common binders include lactose, dibasic calcium phosphate, sucrose, corn starch, microcrystalline cellulose, and modified cellulose. Disintegrants, such as starch and cellulose, help with tablet dispersion once swallowed, thereby releasing the API for absorption.

Characteristics of Tablets

Modern tablets come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Round, oval, or capsule-shaped tablets are most common, as they are easier for patients to swallow and less vulnerable to chipping and manufacturing issues. Tablet diameter, shape, and thickness are determined by machine tooling during production, while coating materials contribute to enhancing the tablet’s appearance and swallowability.

Unraveling the World of Tablets: FAQs

1. What are the main advantages of using tablets as a pharmaceutical dosage form?

Tablets ensure a consistent dose of medicine and provide an easy method for consumption. They can also be tailor-made to administer the dosage at specific sites within the body.

2. Can tablets be taken in any other way apart from oral consumption?

Yes, tablets can also be administered sublingually, buccally, rectally, or intravaginally, depending on the desired effect.

3. Why are there different types of tablets?

Different types of tablets cater to various needs, such as ease of swallowing, protection from stomach acids, and controlling release rates of the active ingredient.

4. Is it necessary to add a polymer coating to tablets?

While not always necessary, polymer coatings can make tablets smoother and easier to swallow, extend shelf life, enhance appearance, and control the release rate of the active ingredient.

The Ever-Changing Landscape of Tablets: A Final Reflection

From their ancient beginnings as remedies crafted from plant powders and spices to today’s high-tech, versatile forms, tablets have had a long and remarkable history. This dynamic field continues to change, meeting the growing demands for efficient and effective drug delivery. Next time you reach for your trusty tablet or pill, take a moment to appreciate the incredible journey these small yet powerful inventions have traveled to reach you.


Topics: Compounding Pharmacy , Functional Medicine , Medication , pharmaceutical ,

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