• Question: How do you fix the 'ingredients' of drugs togethor?

    Asked by laceyc to Emily on 12 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Emily Bullen

      Emily Bullen answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      That’s a really good question! So, you’ve already figured out that in tablet there isn’t just the drug that’s needed. We also have other things that go in there:
      – binders: these help everything in the tablet stick together
      – lubricants: these avoid the powder or tablet sticking to the equipment we’re using
      – fillers: these are just there to bulk out the tablet. Most of the time the drug is less than 50% of the tablet, because if it was more the tablet wouldn’t form properly.

      Basically we mix all of these together, add a little bit of water, and mix again. That forms something that looks very much like crumble, because the binder has gone sticky and made sure everything is stuck together. We dry that, and the powder stays stuck together in lumps (approximately 1mm). That gets weighed to the right weight, and pressed into a tablet (like when you make a sand castle, but hopefully much more solid!!)

      A lot of chemistry goes into making the actual drug molecule, if you’re interested in a bit about that just ask (I promise it’ll be interesting) 🙂