The capsules take part a signification role in the varieties form of nutrition supplements. As a special dosage form, the soft capsule is capable of sealing oil, solution, suspension, or pasta drugs, and supports customization of size, shape, and color based on demand. The soft capsule is mainly driven by gelatin, meanwhile, additives such as plasticizer, opacifier, pigment, etc. are added to increase stability and differences.
In general, soft capsules have the following advantages over other dosage forms:
1. Could be filled with almost all types of drugs, which keep the drugs away from reprocessing.
2. Natural and comfortable appealing from vision, olfactory and tactile aspects. High patient compliance due to sealing the odor.
3. The filling distributed is highly even, the best filling machine could control the error rate to 1%.
4. The soft capsules could be easily processed with the coating, therefore, controlling the release rate of the drug and improving bioavailability effectively.
Soft capsules have excellent physical characteristics thanks to the main ingredient-gelatin. In addition, various additives are added to enhance capsule performance.
In general, here are the main components for soft capsules:
Gelatin, glycerin, water, paraben complex, titanium dioxide, ferric oxide, ethyl vanillin, fumaric acid, phosphate.
Gelatin is a colorless, translucent (possibly slightly pale yellow), odorless and tough substance. Generally insoluble in organic solvents, strong water absorption, and high viscosity. Because of its excellent physical characteristic, gelatin is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry. Gelatin for soft capsules can be broadly classified into two categories, A and B. Type A gelatin is made from pigskin with an isoelectric point between pH 7-9. Type B gelatin is made from animal bone and cowhide with an isoelectric point between pH 4.7 and 5.2. These two types of gelatin can be used singly or in combination.
Viscosity and strength determine the quality of gelatin. Low viscosity will cause "saponified" easily after being made into soft capsules while high viscosity will cause the soft capsules to surface over rough. The good news is the viscosity can be adjusted by adjusting the water proportion in the gelatin to meet the relevant requirements.
Then the strength requirement for gelatin is between 150-250 Bloom. Under low-strength gelatin requires a lower conventional sealing temperature with a longer drying time which causes the capsule physical problem such as lack of hardness, and sticky and dull surface. The over-high strength gelatin requires a higher than conventional sealing temperature and a short drying time, making the capsule fragile and stiff. However, sometimes the characters can be adjusted according to the filling drugs. For example, low-viscosity and high-strength gelatin could apply to a highly hygroscopic drug solution, meanwhile, the proportion of water in the formula should be lowered to make the drug solution more stable.
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