Medicines and Capsules
Capsules are merely a decoration or vest for medicines, not just to make them look good, of course, but mainly to make them easy to take and for optimal efficacy.
According to historical records, the first capsules used by humans were created in Egypt 1500 years ago. At the time, it was unclear whether the capsules were purely intended to package the drug. However, from 1730 onwards, pharmacists in Vienna began to make what was then called vegetable capsules from starch. At this point, it is clear that capsules are used to package medicines. This capsule production technique was patented in Paris in 1834.
Medications taken by patients when they are ill must be digested and absorbed into the blood through the gastrointestinal tract, and then broken down by the liver. However, a considerable number of powders, granules, liquids, tablets or have a bitter and irritating taste, are volatile or are broken down by saliva in the mouth, and some drugs may also be inhaled into the airways, causing side effects. Therefore, encapsulating the drug can protect the mouth and digestive tract, make it easier to swallow, and allow the drug to work optimally.
And to get the best medicine, it is also important to avoid it being destroyed by one's stomach acid, because some medicines need to be dissolved in the intestinal tract for absorption, so capsule-like substances made of special membrane materials (such as gelatin, cellulose, polysaccharides, etc. ) need to encapsulate various types of drugs, such as powders and liquids, in doses.
In addition, a drug has a half-life, which refers to the time it takes for the drug to halve its maximum concentration in the blood. The half-life of a drug reflects the excretion (excretion, biotransformation, storage, etc.) speed of the drug in the body, and reflects the relationship between the time of the drug in the body and the blood concentration. Therefore, it is the main basis for determining the dosage and frequency of administration. Drugs with long half-lives are slowly eliminated from the body with longer intervals of use, while drugs with short half-lives are eliminated rapidly from the body with shorter intervals of use.
For drugs with short half-lives, frequent dosing is required to maintain the drug's concentration in the blood. To avoid the hassle of frequent dosing, special capsules are used to package the medicine, which are called extended-release capsules. Sustained-release capsules also avoid the disadvantage of frequent dosing of generic formulations, which may result in high and low effective blood levels, and have fewer toxic side effects than generic formulations. Therefore, many drugs, such as ibuprofen, aspirin and Tylenol, are available in DR capsule formulations.