In comparison between controlled release capsules and generic medicines, several drugs are administered around the clock to maintain effective blood levels. In the “classic” approach, a tablet or capsule may be administered three or four times a day. This assumes patient compliance and, while effective, blood level graphs may resemble a roller coaster ride. To assure more even blood levels, continuous release dosage forms have been developed.
A controlled release coating delays the release of an active ingredient upon oral administration for it to release at a fixed location. This protection can stop the drug being destroyed by gastric fluids and not reaching its targeted location. Controlled release capsules are enteric coated to remain intact until reaching the intestines.
The enteric coating may be:
- PH dependant, breaking down in the less acidic environment of the intestine
- Time dependant, being eroded by moisture over time while travelling through the gastrointestinal transit
- Enzyme dependant, deteriorating because of hydrolysis-catalysing action of intestinal enzymes.
The benefits of controlled release coating are that the side effects are again very low, reducing the intake of extra tablets and capsules reduces the impact on the gastrointestinal tract. Patients are also more inclined to stick to the required dosage if they must take less, as the action of swallowing large pills is often a negative experience and the older the consumer, the more likely they have other capsules to consume daily also.