Hot Melt Extrusion (HME) is a continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing process that
has been extensively investigated for solubility improvement and taste masking of active pharmaceutical
ingredients. Recently, it is being explored for its application in 3D printing. 3D printing of
pharmaceuticals allows flexibility of dosage form design, customization of dosage form for personalized
therapy and the possibility of complex designs with the inclusion of multiple actives in a single
unit dosage form. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a 3D printing technique with a variety
of applications in pharmaceutical dosage form development. FDM process requires a polymer filament
as the starting material that can be obtained by hot melt extrusion. Recent reports suggest
enormous applications of a combination of hot melt extrusion and FDM technology in 3D printing
of pharmaceuticals and need to be investigated further. This review in detail describes the HME
process, along with its application in 3D printing. The review also summarizes the published reports
on the application of HME coupled with 3D printing technology in drug delivery.
Keywords: Hot melt extrusion, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, fused deposition modeling, rapid prototyping, FDM.
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