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  • I Spy with My Little Eye: A Paediatric Visual Preferences Survey of 3D Printed Tablets

Written by Patricija Januskaite

3D printing (3DP) offers unique opportunities in the development of paediatric medicines, with recent work focusing on overcoming dosing inaccuracy and administration issues through the formulation of chewable dosage forms and minitablets. However, advances in formulation development must coincide with end user opinions and preferences towards such a novel manufacturing technology. In the past, children’s perceptions in clinical research have been overlooked, but increasing research shows that patient acceptability is critical in constructing a quality target product profile (QTPP) for paediatric formulations.  

 In collaboration with FabRx Ltd., we prepared four types of placebo 3D printed tablets (Printlets) using various 3DP technologies: fused deposition modelling (FDM), digital light processing (DLP), selective laser sintering (SLS) and semi-solid extrusion (SSE). A visual preference survey was conducted as a single-site study at an East London primary school to evaluate children’s visual preferences towards different 3DP technologies. 

 We identified four main categories that affect children’s visual preferences towards medicines: appearance, perceived taste, texture, and familiarity, but found that paediatric patients will still choose a chewable dosage form despite initial attitudes. This is the world’s first study evaluating four different 3DP technologies on the preferences of the paediatric population, and the findings are greatly advantageous for future research towards 3DP for children.  

 You can read the full article here: https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics12111100