Managing the life cycle of drugs requires a clear and up-to-date view of what medical professionals need for their patients. And as the effectiveness of any medical treatment depends on the adherence of the patient, knowledge of patients’ needs is also essential when developing a drug. Should patients find treatment difficult, forget to take medication or ignore medical advice, it is possible their condition could worsen, and with it the risk of hospitalization. Patient adherence is imperative in ongoing care, especially for patients suffering from long-term conditions. This is why Teijin Pharma seeks to produce drugs which help to improve the effectiveness and ease of treatment regimens, not only when developing new drugs, but continuously throughout the life cycle of treatments.
Teijin Pharma has been manufacturing the expectorant drug Mucosolvan since 1984. Expectorant drugs are used to treat symptoms of respiratory diseases such as bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by reducing excess productive sputum. Prescribed to patients across a broad spectrum of ages and medical backgrounds, Mucosolvan has a long history of evolution. At the time of its introduction to the market, it was only available as a tablet requiring three doses daily. Over time, Teijin Pharma has evolved the treatment to answer the various needs of patients. By its 20th anniversary in 2004, five different forms of Mucosolvan were available including syrup, solution, dry syrup and once-a-day capsule treatments.
Even still, surveys of doctors who prescribed expectorants showed there were needs that remained unfulfilled. As expectorants are often taken alongside other drugs, treatment regimens are often complex and difficult for patients to follow. Teijin Pharma began to research a solution, collaborating closely with medical professionals, and the ideal option was devised; a small-size once-a-day tablet, making the medication easier to swallow, while allowing the patient to schedule their dosage conveniently. In July 2015, Teijin Pharma announced that they were able to fulfill these needs with the new reduced-size tablet version of Mucosolvan. Measuring just 7.5 mm in diameter, the Mucosolvan L Expectorant Tablet is less than half the size of the conventional once-a-day capsule, making it much easier to swallow, while still providing patients with the same effects.
While the goal of this work was to achieve size reduction, Teijin Pharma recognized the importance of being uncompromising in all fields of clinical development and production technology, as well as in sales and marketing. The L Tablet is just as effective in all conditions as its predecessors, ensuring that patients are not forced to sacrifice quality for convenience. Above and beyond this, Teijin Pharma has developed new techniques for manufacturing.
Drug granules are used to control the dissolution of active pharmaceutical ingredients once a drug has been swallowed and in order to manufacture the L Tablet, Teijin Pharma devised an elaborate granule coating process. Firstly, a new integrated granule structure was designed that combined immediate and extended release functions in each granule which was then encased in an excipient. This way the necessary number of granules was reduced. Then, through many trials and tests, the size was further reduced by adopting a smaller core granule and controlling the first layer composition, the whole structure could be reduced in size by around half.
The last challenge faced was preventing damage during compression. Granules tended to become badly damaged when being pressed into the tablet structure, making the dissolution rate unpredictable. This problem was answered by changing materials of the core granule and adding a protective membrane to the extended release membrane. Although the new manufacturing process brought various challenges, through continuous optimization a stable production process was established.
The Mucosolvan L Tablet is a fully effective daily expectorant in tablet form, and showcases technical advancements that could revolutionize the manufacturing of tablet drugs. This work is a direct result of Teijin’s corporate philosophy – Enhancing Quality of Life. Mucosolvan patients can now tailor their treatment to their lifestyle. Children will be able to take just one dose per day instead of interrupting a busy school schedule, while the new, easier to swallow form makes it ideal for elderly patients to take in conjunction with other medication.
In order to contribute to patients’ quality of life, a constant cycle of development and enhancement is necessary. This way, Teijin Pharma is able retain their position as a leader in the healthcare field by providing continuous improvements in patient care. Teijin Pharma will continue to look for ways to improve the effectiveness and applications of products and use a fully integrated approach to answer the needs of doctors and improve the quality of life for our patients.