After taking medicine for so many years, do you really know the difference between tablets, granules and capsules?

Update:22 Nov 2021

Every time you go to a pharmacy to choose a medicine, you will always see a variety of drug dosage forms, such as tablets, capsules, granules, oral liquids... and even the same medicine has different dosage forms. Then, what are these dosage forms? What's the difference?




First of all, we need to understand a basic knowledge of drugs, what is a drug dosage form? Pharmaceutical dosage form refers to a certain form, such as capsules, granules, injections, and oral liquids, that are prepared by adding appropriate excipients to the drugs to meet the needs of clinical medications and to adapt to the physical and chemical properties of the drugs. To put it vividly, different dosage forms are equivalent to putting on different "coats" for drugs, and different dosage forms have different effects and methods of administration.
So, what are the characteristics of common tablets, capsules and granules?

More than half of the commonly used oral medicines are tablets, which are compressed after mixing the medicine and excipients. The biggest advantages are accurate dosage, stable physical and chemical properties, long storage period, and low price. There are many types of tablets, such as dispersible tablets, effervescent tablets, enteric-coated tablets, sustained-release tablets, controlled-release tablets, buccal tablets, chewable tablets, dispersible tablets and sugar-coated tablets.
Take care when taking tablets, not all tablets can be taken apart. Generally split tablets and dispersible tablets can be taken separately, but enteric-coated tablets, sustained-release tablets, and control tablets must be swallowed as a whole. Gastric acid is digested ahead of time to ensure that the drug can be absorbed after it enters the intestine. Sustained-release tablets can release the drug slowly, while controlled-release tablets can release the drug at a constant rate. If such drugs are broken, the controlled-release film of the tablet will be destroyed, and the drug will be released quickly, failing to achieve sustained and long-term release. For the purpose of effectiveness, in severe cases, it may even cause drug poisoning in patients due to a rapid increase in drug concentration.

Capsules refer to a type of solid preparations that are filled in hollow capsules or sealed in soft capsule shells after drugs or supplementary materials. They can be divided into hard capsules, soft capsules, sustained-release capsules, controlled-release capsules, enteric-coated capsules, etc. .
The function of the capsule is not only to wrap the medicine to avoid the influence of moisture, air and light, but also to cover up the bitterness, odor and other unpleasant odors of the medicine, thereby reducing the unpleasant experience of the patient when taking the medicine. The drugs in capsules are often in powder or granular form. Compared with tablets, pressure has less influence on them. Therefore, they can be quickly dissolved and absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and have higher bioavailability. Secondly, certain drugs are easily destroyed in the stomach or have strong irritation to the stomach, so enteric-coated capsules are often made to ensure that the capsule shell reaches the intestine before dissolving and releasing the drug.
Note when taking capsules: some capsules are sustained-release capsules, which must be swallowed intact to release the drug uniformly and exert the best efficacy; the capsules must not be sticky, deformed or broken, and have no peculiar smell; when taking the capsules Drink at least 300mL of water and lower your head slightly when swallowing, so that the capsule can be taken smoothly.

Granules are dry granular preparations made of medicines and appropriate excipients. In the early days, they were commonly known as "granules". They can be swallowed directly or washed into water for drinking. They are more convenient to apply and carry. The speed of dissolution and absorption of such drugs Faster.
When taking granules, it should be taken with warm water as much as possible.
In daily life, we often encounter the same medicine but different dosage forms. This is because with the change of dosage form, the dissolution rate of the medicine is different, which can further affect the absorption rate of the medicine and the utilization of the medicine. . For example, indomethacin tablets dissolve slowly in the gastrointestinal tract. To achieve better therapeutic effects, a drug dose of 200-300 mg is required. The capsule preparation can not only reduce its irritation to the gastrointestinal mucosa, but also It can increase the dissolution rate of the drug, promote its absorption, and only need 75-100mg to achieve the purpose of treatment, thereby effectively reducing the adverse drug reaction. It can be seen that different dosage forms of the same medicine have curative effects

The difference.
Therefore, when choosing medicines and drugs, we should also pay attention to the difference of drug dosage forms, and strictly abide by the methods of taking all kinds of dosage forms, so that the drugs can exert the maximum effect.

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