Gelatin in pharmaceuticals
Gelatine has demonstrated its versatility in applications for the pharmaceutical industry and medicine – be it in the production of capsules or tablets or as a constituent of wound dressings, haemostatic sponges or blood volume substitutes.
P – Gelatine is the most PURE and PERFECT PROTEIN available.
H – It is absolutely HARMLESS and controlled by HIGH QUALITY standards for such applications.
A – ACTIVE and readily and rapidly ACCEPTED by the body.
R – RELIABLE and safe ingredient in sensitive products.
M – Significant in MEDICINAL and MEDICAL applications.
A – Contains practically all essential AMINO ACIDS required for body cells and tissue nourishment.
C – Sourced from natural COLLAGENS.
E – ESSENTIAL to all humans.
U – A UNIQUE and USEFUL product used through the centuries.
T – Significant in THERMOREVERSIBLE and TABLETTING applications.
I – Truly an INTERNATIONAL product.
C – A CLEAR and CLEAN product.
A – Easily AVAILABLE from several producers who are members of GMAP.
L – Used in several LIFE supporting applications, such as plasma extenders.
Today, the commonly recognised dosage forms using gelatin are two-piece hard capsules, and soft elastic capsules known as ‘softgels’.
The manufacture of hard gelatin capsules consists of dipping stainless steel mould pins into a warm bath of gelatin solution, drying, stripping them from the pins, trimming the caps and bodies and joining them together for shipping. The hard capsules are then filled by pharmaceutical or health supplement companies with dosages of their products, usually in a dry form.
The soft gelatin process begins with the formation of two soft sheets of gelatin, each of which passes over a die of the desired capsule size and shape. As the capsule is formed, it is simultaneously filled with a liquid dosage of the pharmaceutical or health supplement product.
A further common use of gelatin in the health and pharmacy fields is in dosage by tablet. Here again, gelatin is an essential ingredient. It can be a binding agent for the dosage and a coating to reduce unpleasant taste and aroma. It also enables printing and colour for product identification.
The meltdown characteristic peculiar to gelatin often plays an important role in the gradual and timely release of medication. It is also used in the manufacture of suppositories, surgical sponges and bacterial growth media.
The Medical Field
Gelatine is often used in the medical field – one example being in the case of severe injuries with heavy blood loss. Blood volume is reduced when injuries are accompanied by a heavy loss of blood, leaving organs inadequately supplied. This leads to what is known as hypovolemic shock. To avoid this, in emergency medicine, blood substitutes made from gelatine (plasma expanders) are often administered into the bloodstream via an infusion. This increases the amount of fluid in the bloodstream, preventing the onset of hypovolemic shock and stabilising the circulatory system. The body quickly and completely resorbs the gelatine within the blood substitutes.