White Paper

How Tablet Shape Can Impact Patient Acceptance

Source: Natoli Engineering Company, Inc.

By Dale Natoli

First impressions are everything. This is especially true for pharmaceutical, nutritional and confectionery tablets. Discriminating consumers may decide if they will be repeat customers based on a tablet’s appearance and their experience with it. This article discusses the limitations of the flat faced bevel edge and the benefits of a flat faced radius edge tablet design.

Because a tablet’s design can so strongly influence consumer acceptance, a company’s marketing department often provides significant input as design and coating decisions are made. However, it is highly advised to include the production department in these decisions as it is their responsibility to deliver the final product. The production department’s experience and expertise can greatly reduce production costs and issues as some tablet designs present higher tooling costs and suboptimal physical properties of the tablets.

Tablet designs that have been developed to improve tablet quality and reduce production costs, include the flat faced bevel edge (FFBE) tablet design. FFBE became popular early in the development of tablet manufacturing using rotary tablet presses because it offered significant improvement to the flat faced design. The flat faced tablet design suffered from weak tablet edges because of powder leakage at the punch tip die wall interface. Weak edges were prone to chipping and excessive friability. Adding a beveled edge to the tooling was very simple for the tooling machinist to do and allowed for the formulation powder to be pushed back to the center of the die - making for stronger tablet edges. Over decades, the FFBE configuration became a very popular design for the tableting industry. However, the FFBE design has limitations on the maximum compression force that can be used without risking tip damage due to over compression.

Natoli Engineering Company, Inc.