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Types of Tablets: Here’s Everything You Want to Know

Definition of Tablets

Tablets, commonly known as pills, are solid dosage forms created by compacting powder or granules containing drug ingredients under high pressure in a tablet press. They can be round, oval, or other special shapes, often with letters or numbers engraved to identify their drug content and efficacy. Tablets are the most commonly used drug dosage form globally due to their portability, easy storage, and ease of use.

Types of Tablets

Tablets can be categorized based on their function, shape, and method of administration. Here are some common types:

1. Compressed Tablets

Compressed tablets are formed by applying high pressure to drug powder or granules in a tablet press machine. They may include fillers, compression agents, and lubricants to optimize the tableting process. This is the most common type of tablet, used widely across various therapeutic areas.

2. Film-coated Tablets

These tablets are covered with a thin film coating, which improves taste, enhances aesthetics, and masks the taste of the drug. The coating also provides protection from moisture and other environmental factors, thereby improving the stability and shelf life of the tablet.

3. Sustained-Release Tablets

Sustained-release tablets are designed to release the drug gradually over a prolonged period. This helps maintain a stable drug concentration in the bloodstream, reducing the frequency of dosing and improving patient compliance.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Tablets

Compressed Tablets

A. Definition and Description

Compressed tablets are formed by applying high pressure to drug powder or granules. They may also include fillers, compression agents, and lubricants to optimize the tableting process and tablet properties.

B. Uses

Compressed tablets are used for various medications, including antibiotics, pain relievers, antidepressants, lipid-regulating drugs, and vitamins. Their release rate and time can be adjusted to meet specific therapeutic needs.

C. Examples

  1. Aspirin
  2. Ibuprofen
  3. Vitamin C tablets
  4. L-carnitine tablets

D. Advantages

  1. Low Production Cost: The tableting process is economical, requiring no expensive equipment.
  2. High Energy Density: Tightly compressed, allowing each tablet to contain a higher drug dose.
  3. Long Shelf Life: Absence of moisture prevents microbial growth, extending shelf life.

E. Disadvantages

  1. Taste: Some may find tablets difficult to swallow.
  2. Stability: Some drugs may decompose during the tableting process.
  3. No Flavoring: Tablets need to be swallowed whole, limiting taste options.

Film-coated Tablets

Film-coated tablets are coated with one or more layers of drugs or substances to protect the drug from decomposition, improve taste, and enhance the tablet's appearance.


  1. Protection: Prevents the drug from being affected by moisture, oxygen, and light.
  2. Enhanced Stability: Extends shelf life and improves drug stability.
  3. Taste Masking: Improves taste and appearance, increasing patient acceptance.
  4. Controlled Release: Regulates the drug's release rate and location in the body.


  1. Complex Production: Requires special equipment and technology, increasing costs.
  2. Drug Absorption: Improper coating can affect drug release and bioavailability.
  3. Storage Conditions: Sensitive to humidity, which can cause coating to peel.

Sustained-release Tablets

A. Definition and Description

Sustained-release tablets release drugs gradually over time to maintain stable blood drug concentrations, reducing the need for frequent dosing.

B. Benefits

These tablets ensure stable and long-lasting drug treatment, reducing fluctuations in drug concentration and decreasing the frequency of medication intake.

C. Examples

  1. Compaxetine sustained-release tablets
  2. Quinoxaline sustained-release tablets
  3. Hydrochlorothiazide sustained-release tablets

D. Advantages

  1. Stable Drug Concentration: Maintains consistent blood drug levels.
  2. Low Medication Frequency: Reduces daily dosage requirements.
  3. Improved Compliance: Fewer doses enhance patient compliance.

E. Disadvantages

  1. Complex Design: Costly and intricate design and production process.
  2. Do Not Cut or Chew: Altering the tablet can cause rapid drug release, leading to overdose.
  3. Individual Differences: Some patients may not respond as expected, requiring dosage adjustments.

Effervescent Tablets

A. Definition and Description

Effervescent tablets contain a desiccant like sodium bicarbonate, which dissolves quickly in water, producing bubbles. They are used for the rapid delivery and release of oral drugs.

B. How They Work

When effervescent tablets contact water, a chemical reaction produces carbon dioxide, causing the tablet to dissolve and release the drug quickly.

C. Examples

  1. Vitamin C effervescent tablets
  2. Alka-Seltzer (antacid and pain reliever)
  3. Berocca (vitamin B and C effervescent tablet)

D. Advantages

  1. Rapid Absorption: Dispersed in water, allowing quick absorption.
  2. Easy to Take: Suitable for those who struggle to swallow pills.
  3. Flavor Options: Can be flavored, making them pleasant to take.

E. Disadvantages

  1. Storage Issues: Must be kept dry, making storage challenging.
  2. Difficult to Carry: Need water to take, not convenient for on-the-go use.
  3. Cost: More expensive to manufacture than regular tablets.


Different types of tablets allow healthcare providers to choose the most appropriate dosage form based on the patient's needs and drug characteristics. For drugs sensitive to gastric acid or irritating to the stomach, enteric-coated tablets are suitable. Sustained-release tablets maintain stable plasma drug concentrations, while soluble tablets are ideal for patients who have difficulty swallowing. By selecting the right type of tablet, healthcare professionals can ensure optimal drug absorption and efficacy while minimizing side effects.

For more information about tablets, capsules, and pharmaceutical products, Tabletpress store can provide valuable assistance. Contact us to learn more and get answers to your questions.

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