Intranasal formulations
Oral formulations
Percutaneous formulations
Parenteral formulations
Intranasal formulations
Oral formulations
Percutaneous formulations
Parenteral formulations

How Medications Enter the Body

In the past 200 years, pharmacology and medicine have considerably expanded the methods by which medical active ingredients can be transported into the body. All four methods were basically already known in antiquity.

Thanks to increasing knowledge about the biochemistry of the body, formulations of active ingredients have become high-tech processes.

Tablet

1850s

Early tablets were pressed from a mixture of the active ingredient, fillers such as starch, and binders such as gelatin.

Capsule

1870s

Two-piece telescoping capsules enable better administration of unpleasant-tasting active ingredients in powder form.

Dragée —A tablet with a sugar coating

1930s

Dragées have a thick sugar coating to protect them against light and moisture, which is modeled on those used by confectioners.

Modern tablet

1950s

Thanks to extremely thin polymer coatings, tablets can work aer a time delay or only when they reach specific parts of the intestine.

Passive drug delivery — Liposomes

1990s

The lipid bilayer, sometimes enhanced with a layer of polyethylene glycol, protects the active ingredient until it reaches its target tissue.

Passive drug delivery — Metal particles

2000s

Sugar-coated particles of gold or iron oxide are physically excited to cause cell death in tumor tissue.

Active drug delivery — Liposomes

The future

Formulations such as liposomes will use special ligand molecules to dock precisely onto receptors on tumor cells.

Size comparison:

photo: Shutterstock
Illustrations: Max Nertinger

PUBLICATION DATE

10 October 2018

Background

Transport without Side Effects

Drug delivery—on the art of transporting active pharmaceutical ingredients to specific targets in the human body.

Research & Innovation

Getting safely to the Destination

How liposomes play a key role in cancer therapy by transporting ribonucleic acids to the affected cells.

Medical Devices

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Interview

„Research requires Freedom“

Creavis Managing Director Prof. Stefan Buchholz about new ideas and the role of distance or closeness to the parent company.

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