3D Printing in Pharmaceutical and Medical Applications - Recent Achievements and Challenges

Pharm Res. 2018 Jul 11;35(9):176. doi: 10.1007/s11095-018-2454-x.


Growing demand for customized pharmaceutics and medical devices makes the impact of additive manufacturing increased rapidly in recent years. The 3D printing has become one of the most revolutionary and powerful tool serving as a technology of precise manufacturing of individually developed dosage forms, tissue engineering and disease modeling. The current achievements include multifunctional drug delivery systems with accelerated release characteristic, adjustable and personalized dosage forms, implants and phantoms corresponding to specific patient anatomy as well as cell-based materials for regenerative medicine. This review summarizes the newest achievements and challenges of additive manufacturing in the field of pharmaceutical and biomedical research that have been published since 2015. Currently developed techniques of 3D printing are briefly described while comprehensive analysis of extrusion-based methods as the most intensively investigated is provided. The issue of printlets attributes, i.e. shape and size is described with regard to personalized dosage forms and medical devices manufacturing. The undeniable benefits of 3D printing are highlighted, however a critical view resulting from the limitations and challenges of the additive manufacturing is also included. The regulatory issue is pointed as well.

Keywords: 3D printing; additive manufacturing; bioprinting; drug delivery; medical devices.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bandages
  • Biomedical Research
  • Bioprinting / instrumentation*
  • Drug Compounding / instrumentation
  • Drug Delivery Systems / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Humans
  • Precision Medicine / instrumentation
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional / instrumentation*
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / instrumentation*
  • Tissue Engineering / instrumentation