Pharmaceutical tablets are the oral solid dosage form of one or more medicaments sometimes containing suitable excipients. These substances, typically in powder form, are compacted or pressed into a solid tablet. They vary in size, shape, hardness, thickness, weight, dissolution, and disintegration properties. Tablets account for approximately 90% of dosage forms used for dispensing medication as they offer convenience and a wide array of types.

Tablet Properties

There are several properties that ensure a tablet’s efficacy, including:

  • Weight, thickness and hardness
  • Uniform weight-to-drug content ratio
  • Bio-availability, or ability to make its therapeutic benefits available to the human body in a predictable and reproducible way
  • Chemical and physical stability to maintain its properties during manufacture, use, and storage
  • Strength and hardness to withstand shock during manufacturing, packing, shipping, dispensing, and use
  • Cosmetic attributes, free of visible or structural defects

Types of Tablets for Pharmaceutical

There are several types of pharmaceutical tablets, including:

  • Compressed Tablets. Compressed tablets provide rapid disintegration in gastric fluid after ingestion, allowing for quick absorption of the dosage form. They come coated or uncoated and are formed by compressing powdered, granular, or crystalline materials into the required shape.
  • Coated Tablets. Coated tablets are compressed tablets that are coated in an additional layer, such as sugar or wax, to increase durability and ease of consumption. Examples include Advil and Diclofenac Potassium tablets.
  • Dispersible Tablets.Dispersible tablets can be formulated as uncoated or coated tablets and offer uniform dispersion when suspended in water.
  • Effervescent Tablet Effervescent tablets are uncoated tablets that produce gaseous carbon dioxide when placed in water, causing it to quickly dissolve and produce a suspension of powdered material that is readily absorbed by the body once consumed.
  • Modified Release.Modified release tablets are coated or uncoated tablets formulated to release medication when a specific condition or desired activity is reached.
  • Enteric-Coated or Gastro-Resistant tablets. This tablet type is coated with a polymer material that gives it resistance to acidic gastric juices. This coating is used when the drug substance is easily destroyed by gastric fluid or is irritating to the gastric mucosa.
  • Prolonged Release Tablets. Prolonged release tablets require special excipients and deliver the active ingredient in a controlled manner over a prolonged period.
  • Soluble Tablets. Soluble tablets are coated or uncoated tablets that must be dissolved in water before administration.
  • Tablets for Mouth Use. These tablets are designed to release active ingredients when placed in the mouth or buccal area. They are used when a patient has difficulty swallowing or is in need of fast release to the bloodstream. Examples include lozenges, troches, and buccal and sublingual tablets.
  • Fast-dissolving. Tablets that disintegrate almost immediately, in the mouth, upon contact with saliva.
  • Tamper-resistant. Some manufacturers have developed formulations that make it extremely difficult to change the final form of a tablet through means such as heat or melting, as in the case of abusers doing so when manipulating opioids.
  • Osmotic pump. Tablets with a tiny hole laser-drilled into a semi-permeable outer coating. Water within the human body is absorbed through the coating (via osmosis), with the resulting pressure pushing the drug substance through the hole (or holes).
  • Implantable or Other Route Tablets. These tablets administer medication through areas of the body other than the mouth, such as rectal or vaginal tablets, or through a medical implant. Implantable tablets allow for small dosages and are used to deliver medicines at the site where the drug is needed most.

Necessary Machines & Equipment

There are two types of tablet presses, including:

  • Rotary. By far the most common type of press in use today, rotary tablet presses, with multiple stations, are complex machines and have various high-tech functions to control tablet parameters at extremely high rates of output. As the machine’s turret (the heart of any press, into which punches and dies are installed) rotates, powder is fed into a hopper and feeding system, before being compressed to achieve target weight, hardness and thickness parameters. Finished tablets are then ejected from the die cavity as the lower punches are temporarily raised by an ejection cam. The shape and sizes of the punches and dies are selected depending on the size and shape of the tablet. Modern, double-sided rotary tablet presses will often have capabilities of compressing up to 18,000 tablets per minute, though with special turrets and tooling some can reach 27,000 per minute (or 1,650,000 an hour)!
  • Single Punch. Single punch, or single station, tablet presses are simple tablet compression machines that use only one moving punch to form the tablet. A single punch tablet press is typically used for low-volume production of tablets, most often for simple feasibility or research work. While useful for determining whether or not a particular formulation can be compressed in the first place, they generally fall short in demonstrating for the user how the same formulation would behave on a rotary press, where the effects of centrifugal force play a key role.


At Fette Compacting, we provide our customers with a wide range of services including 24-hour emergency consultation, documentation services, technical support, and lab services. We offer four laboratories and a full-time lab manager enabling us to conduct and host client evaluations, Factory Acceptance Tests, product trials, and training sessions. To learn more about tablet types and how Fette Compacting can provide a solution for your specific needs, request a quote or contact us today.


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