Visual impairment and blindness affects 285 million people worldwide, resulting in a high public health burden. This study reports, for the first time, the use of three-dimensional (3D) printing to create orally disintegrating printlets (ODPs) suited for patients with visual impairment. Printlets were designed with Braille and Moon patterns on their surface, enabling patients to identify medications when taken out of their original packaging. Printlets with different shapes were fabricated to offer additional information, such as the medication indication or its dosing regimen. Despite the presence of the patterns, the printlets retained their original mechanical properties and dissolution characteristics, wherein all the printlets disintegrated within ~5 s, avoiding the need for water and facilitating self-administration of medications. Moreover, the readability of the printlets was verified by a blind person. Overall, this novel and practical approach should reduce medication errors and improve medication adherence in patients with visual impairment.
Keywords: 3D printed drug products; blindness; orally disintegrating tablets; personalised medicines; personalized pharmaceuticals; sight loss; tactile patterns; three-dimensional printing; touch-reading compliance; visual deprivation.