Background: The conventional dosage forms cannot be administered to all patients because of interindividual variability found among people of different race coupled with different metabolism and cultural necessities. Therefore, to address this global issue there is a growing focus on the fabrication of new drug delivery systems customised to individual needs. Medicinal products printed using 3-D technology are transforming the current medicine business to a plausible alternative of conventional medicines.
Methods: The PubMed database and Google scholar were browsed by keywords of 3-D printing, drug delivery, and personalised medicine. The data about techniques employed in the manufacturing of 3-D printed medicines and the application of 3-D printing technology in the fabrication of individualised medicine were collected, analysed and discussed.
Results: Numerous techniques can fabricate 3-D printed medicines however, printing-based inkjet, nozzle-based deposition and laser-based writing systems are the most popular 3-D printing methods which have been employed successfully in the development of tablets, polypills, implants, solutions, nanoparticles, targeted and topical dug delivery. In addition, the approval of Spritam® containing levetiracetam by FDA as the primary 3-D printed drug product has boosted its importance. However, some drawbacks such as suitability of manufacturing techniques and the available excipients for 3-D printing need to be addressed to ensure simple, feasible, reliable and reproducible 3-D printed fabrication.
Conclusion: 3-D printing is a revolutionary in pharmaceutical technology to cater the present and future needs of individualised medicines. Nonetheless, more investigations are required on its manufacturing aspects in terms cost effectiveness, reproducibility and bio-equivalence.