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FDA clears first 3-D printed prescription drug to treat seizures

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals said the FDA approved its drug Spritam for adults and children who suffer from certain types of seizures caused by epilepsy. The tablet are manufactured in a layered process via 3-D printing and dissolve when taken with liquid.
(Aprecia Pharmaceuticals)

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first prescription drug made through 3-D printing: a dissolvable tablet that treats seizures.

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals said Monday that the FDA approved its drug Spritam for adults and children who suffer from certain types of seizures caused by epilepsy. The tablet is manufactured through a layered process via 3-D printing and dissolves when taken with liquid.

The Ohio company says its printing system can package potent drug doses of up to 1,000 milligrams into individual tablets. It expects to launch Spritam in the first quarter of 2016.

The FDA has previously approved medical devices — including prosthetics — made with 3-D printing. An agency spokeswoman confirmed that the new drug is the first prescription tablet approved that uses the process.

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Aprecia said in a statement that it plans to develop other medications using its 3-D platform in coming years, including more neurological drugs. The company is privately owned.

Doctors are increasingly turning to 3-D printing to create customized implants for patients with rare conditions and injuries, including children who cannot be treated with adult-size devices. The FDA held a workshop last year for medical manufacturers interested in the technology.

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