The US Food and Drug Administration gave its final approval to the world’s first prescription drug that was produced via three-dimensional printing technology. Spritam was deemed safe for sale to epilepsy patients in the U.S.
The maker of the drug Aprecia Pharmaceuticals reported that it had used a patented method of 3-D printing called ‘ZipDose.’ The new method allowed the pharma company create an anti-epilepsy pill that is porous enough to dissolve the moment it comes in contact with a liquid including the patient’s saliva. That may prove life-saving especially during epilepsy seizures where patients lose control over their bodies.
The company also said that the new drug would deliver up to 1,000 mg of levetiracetam, a common chemical compound used to tackle epilepsy, in a single dose. Doctors will be able to prescribe Aprecia Pharmaceuticals’ Spritam in the first months of 2016.
Medical experts noted that 3-D printing technology may revolutionize big pharma industry because it will allow the creation of products depending on patients’ needs rather than sticking with the one-type-fits-all approach.
The pill is the first 3-D printed prescription drug to get the U.S. public health agency’s approval, but the FDA had already approved 3-D printed medical devices in recent years including some types of prosthetics. Moreover, medical device producers currently experiment with the new technology in bringing innovative medical devices that can help doctors in their work with hopeless cases.
For instance, a U.K.-based company provided the raw material needed by a 3-D printer for the reconstruction of the largest bonny parts of the human body. For instance one U.S. patient now lives with a 75-percent-reconstructed skull due to 3-D printing technology.
Also, new skin will soon be printed. Researchers worldwide are working towards finding the best approach to printing artificial skin that matches the patient’s skin tone accurately. If they are successful, the technology can help burn victims get a new life.
Researchers also plan to set in place a “skin database” with the samples of skins printed so far, so that a hospital doesn’t have to waste any more time with matching tones.
Plus, 3-D printing technology can reduce costs of prosthetic eyes for instance. Currently artificial eyes may take months to be created because they need to be painted by hand. But a 3-D printer can cut costs and time since a printer can fabricate 150 eyes per hour. Plus, details such as size, iris color, and even blood vessels can be more accurately rendered via the new technology. And the possibilities for other medical use are endless.
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