Data-Enriched Edible Pharmaceuticals (DEEP) with Bespoke Design, Dose and Drug Release
Data-enriched edible pharmaceuticals (DEEP) is an approach to obtain personalized medicine, in terms of flexible and precise drug doses, while at the same time containing data, embedded in quick response (QR) codes at a single dosage unit level. The aim of this study was to fabricate DEEP with a patient-tailored dose, modify drug release and design to meet patients’ preferences. It also aimed to investigate physical stability in terms of the readability of QR code patterns of DEEP during storage. Cannabinoids, namely, cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), were used as the model active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Three different substrates and two colorants for the ink were tested for their suitability to fabricate DEEP by desktop inkjet printing. Flexible doses and customizable designs of DEEP were obtained by manipulating the digital design of the QR code, particularly, by exploring different pattern types, embedded images and the physical size of the QR code pattern. Modification of the release of both APIs from DEEP was achieved by applying a hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) polymer coating. The appearance and readability of uncoated and polymer-coated DEEP did not change on storage in cold and dry conditions; however, the HPC polymer layer was insufficient in preserving the readability of the QR code pattern in the extreme storage condition (40 °C and 75% relative humidity). To sum up, the DEEP concept provides opportunities for the personalization of medicines, considering also patients’ preferences.
Keywords: QR code; additive manufacturing; cannabinoids; inkjet printing; patient-centered pharmaceutical design; polymer coating.