Quick-Dissolve Tablets Present Unique Challenges


Ensuring the tablet is soft enough to dissolve quickly in the mouth, yet hardy enough to withstand manufacture and packaging, is number one.

More consumers want dietary supplements that don’t require swallowing. Demand is growing for tablets that dissolve quickly in the mouth, but those interested in this delivery system should be aware of its inherent challenges.

One of the biggest challenges in developing a quick-dissolve tablet is ensuring the tablet is soft enough to dissolve quickly in the mouth, yet hardy enough to withstand manufacture and packaging. “Some of the biggest challenges in developing Qk-MeltTech tablets are meeting friability standards,” says Randy Pollan, vice president of sales for dietary supplement contract manufacturer ProTab Laboratories (Foothill Ranch, CA). Qk-MeltTech is ProTab’s brand-new quick-dissolve tablet.

“The tablet needs to be strong to not break apart,” Pollan explains. “In order for fast-dissolving tablets to dissolve in the mouth, they are made of very porous and soft-molded matrices, or compressed into tablets with very low compression force, which makes the tablets friable and brittle. This can make tablets fragile.” Besides risking breakage during manufacturing, fragile tablets may even require the use of specialized packaging such as blister packaging, Pollan says.

Qk-MeltTech tablets were specifically designed to be strong, he says. The tablet dissolves in as little as 45 seconds, as opposed to some dissolvable tablets that take as long as a full minute to disintegrate. The key to a fast-dissolving, fast-absorbing tablet is high wettability and a highly porous structure, so that “tablet porosity is maximized to ensure fast water absorption into the tablets,” he says.

For supplement users taking products on the go, there is great appeal in the convenience of the quick-dissolve format. Those traveling, as well as athletes “who do not always have access to water,” are among the growing fans, Pollan says. Today’s supplement customer will appreciate the fact that they can take a quick-dissolve tablet before bed “without needing to get up to get a glass of water.” And the ingredients popular for this format reflect its fan base. Vitamin B12, melatonin, calcium, and ribose “are all excellent nutrients that lend themselves well to the Qk-MeltTech delivery system,” Pollan points out.

As opposed to tablets and capsules that are swallowed, mouthfeel and taste are even more important when it comes to quick-dissolve tablets. “If the tablet is not formulated properly, it may leave an unpleasant taste and/or grittiness in the mouth,” Pollan says, adding that Qk-MeltTech offers good mouthfeel and taste and takes advantage of ProTab’s extensive, customizable flavor offerings.


Jennifer Grebow
Nutritional Outlook magazine jennifer.grebow@ubm.com


Photo © iStockphoto.com/ariwasabi

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