Have you ever had difficulty in orally taking your pills and medications? Now, there’s a new form of medicine that’s making waves in the pharmaceutical and medical industry lately. Welcome the ODT tablet, a drug form that lets people ingest medications easily, safely, and effectively.
Our post for today will focus on defining what orally disintegrating tablets (ODTs) are, how they were made, and how you can take it effectively. We also enumerate some of the medications that already have ODT versions in the market.
What Is an ODT Tablet?
Orally disintegrating tablets (ODTs) are medications that readily dissolve or disintegrate inside the mouth. These tablets don’t need to be chewed or swallowed with water. ODTs go by many names, including the following:
- Orally dissolving tablets
- Orodispersible tablet systems
- Fast-melt or quick-melt tablets
Orally disintegrating tablets come in solid-unit dosage forms. To take it, you simply have to pop it inside your mouth and allow it to dissolve inside your oral cavity just with the aide of your saliva. The medication dissolves in a few seconds up to one minute inside your mouth cavity.
Who Needs ODT Tablets?
ODT tablets are part of a fast-dissolving drug delivery system that benefits patient populations who find it difficult to swallow or ingest conventional tablets and pills. These tablets are specifically geared for the following patient groups:
- Elderly/geriatric patients
- Very young children/pediatric patients
- People with dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing)
- Uncooperative patients
- Disabled people
- Mentally ill/psychiatric patients
- Bedridden patients
Take note that ODT tablets are not limited to the patient groups listed above. Anyone can take an ODT form of their medication, especially if doing so will help them increase compliance to a specific drug therapy regimen.
Benefits of ODT Tablets
Apart from its ease of use for those who find it difficult to swallow, ODT tablets also carry other benefits:
- They can be taken on-the-go, even without water.
- ODTs have no unpalatable taste, unlike conventional tablets and syrups.
- Most ODTs leave minimal to no residue on the mouth, providing a more pleasant mouth feel with no aftertastes.
- ODTs have faster absorption rates since they’re absorbed directly from the mouth.
- ODT drugs typically have a faster onset of effects than other medication forms, giving you quick results and fast relief from your illness.
- Side effects are significantly reduced due to the ODT’s pre-gastric absorption and due to it avoiding liver metabolism.
Using an ODT also helps improve medication therapy compliance rates in patients due to its ease of use. This is especially true for pediatric, elderly, and mentally-ill patient groups (1).
How Is an ODT Tablet Created?
Orally dissolving medications are created almost in the same way as conventional tablets through a process called loose compression tableting. This method squeezes or compresses the drug’s powders/granules into a dye. The result is the tablet in its solid form.
Now, loose compression tableting to create ODTs apply a force of 4-20 kilonewtons (kN) to the medications in the die. This force is regarded as lower compared to the standard ones used to create conventional tablets.
Sugars such as mannitol and maltodextrin are usually added to ODTs as the main diluent. They are also used to create a creamy and smooth mouthfeel for the tablets (2).
There are also ingredients added to ODTs as fillers and disintegrating aids. These usually include crospovidone and microcrystalline cellulose (3).
Lyophilized or free-dried versions of ODTs are also available. These are typically manufactured under proprietary methods and are marketed as fast disintegrating tablets with longer shelf lives.
How Does an ODT Tablet Work in the Body?
Each ODT is typically comprised of three substances:
- The drug itself
- Fast-dissolving granules
- A disintegration agent
These three substances have particles that are often mixed inside the orally dissolving tablet’s body.
Now, the ODT tablet immediately comes into contact with saliva the moment you place it on your mouth. Saliva prompts the tablet’s disintegration agent to swell, causing the ODT to start dispersing itself.
More saliva comes into contact with the tablet as the ODT swells up and starts disintegrating. As a result, the fast-dissolving granules dissolve, and the ODT continues to disintegrate until what’s left to absorb are the drug particles itself. The oral cavity then starts to absorb the drug through the small blood vessels surrounding the mouth, cheeks, and tongue.
Which Medicines Have Available ODT Dosage Forms?
A lot of medications have ODT counterparts today, both prescription and over-the-counter. This means that many people suffering from a plethora of illnesses can get faster relief if they use an ODT tablet catering to their symptoms.
Some of the known drugs that can be bought as an ODT include:
- Allergy medications (loratadine, cetirizine, diphenhydramine)
- Fever medications (acetaminophen, paracetamol)
- Pain medications (ibuprofen, meloxicam)
- Gastrointestinal medications (domperidone, metoclopramide, lansoprazole, famotidine)
- Medications for mental illnesses/antidepressants (risperidone, mirtazapine, aripiprazole)
- Opioids (fentanyl, clonazepam, tramadol)
- Erectile dysfunction medications (vardenafil, sildenafil)
An ODT tablet is a new medication form that rapidly dissolves in your mouth and releases the therapeutic drug in under a minute. It’s a good drug preparation to improve therapy compliance in people with difficulty swallowing, young/old patients, and those who are mentally challenged.
Are you interested in using orally disintegrating tablets for your next oral therapy session? Simply ask your pharmacy or tell your doctor to give you an ODT tablet prescription. Transform the way you take your medications today!