The pharmaceutical industry also benefits from the functional properties of gelatine, as it is a versatile ingredient that is fundamental in many pharmaceutical preparations.
However its use in single-dose preparations is widely-known. Juncà products are highly useful in applications of this type. Gelatine may be applied to form a coating, a protective film, or in the form of soft capsules, act as which containers that containing a precise dose of the product required.
However its properties do not end there, as gelatine is capable of creating a reversible gel, as it possesses adhesive properties among its many qualities. It is commonly-used ingredient in supplements and in many over-the-counter preparations.
The main functions of gelatine when applied to the pharmaceutical sector are outlined below:
- It retains active ingredients in pharmaceutical substances.
- It facilitates the proper unification of ingredients.
- It helps to prolong product stability and quality.
- It extends the life cycle and, therefore, the shelf-life of medicines.
- It may even be used to promote the speed and release of active medicinal ingredients in capsule ingestion.
In the pharmaceutical industry, gelatine is mainly used to make soft or hard capsules, as well as for providing coatings to vitamins.
Soft and Hard Capsules
These are produced from a mixture of gelatine, glycerol and/or sorbitol and water. Soft capsules are used as a vehicle for powders or granules. The ingredients, which are mainly active ingredients and excipients, are inserted during capsule production.
Low or medium Bloom strength gelatine is normally used in the production of these capsules. Hard capsules are manufactured from high-density gelatine using a dipping process.
Tablets for Medical Use
Gelatine is used internally in this type of application. Thanks to its adhesive properties, gelatine provides structure to medicines produced in tablet-type formats. Normal gelatine undergoes a wet granulation process before compression, while hydrolysed gelatine is used for direct compression procedures. The Bloom strength of the gelatine used is crucial for the rate at which each tablet type dissolves: a high Bloom strength results in slow dissipation speeds, while a low Bloom value indicates faster dissolving times.
Microencapsulation makes changing the solubility and appearance of a substance (from liquid to powder) possible. It may also be used to mask the unpleasant smell and taste of the medical substance to be ingested. Microencapsulation is a useful technique with numerous applications: it facilitates taking medical products, it prolongs the shelf life of products, while keeping them intact, it protects ingredients from oxidation and moisture. The substance to be microencapsulated is finely dispersed in a gelatine solution before being transformed into a powder by means of a special post-drying process.