Difference Between Tablets and Capsules

Nowadays, modern technology has made it possible for people to take their medication or supplements in different manners or methods.  A few examples of these are suspensions, syrups, drops, tablets and capsules. Here, we will differentiate between tablets and capsules.

A tablet is an oral pharmaceutical dosage form like the capsule. It is characterized by its flat appearance and brittleness. Tablets are processed through molding or compression. They are generally distributed in compressed powder form. Tablets can be cut into half or crushed, making it easier for the dosage to be adjusted, or to make it easier for small children to consume. They are usually coated with substances that prevents the drugs from quickly entering the bloodstream.

A capsule is a shell used to encapsulate medicine – they either come as soft or hard-shelled. Capsules can come in different colors and sizes, although they cannot be cut or crushed like tablets. They also generally cost more. Capsules are made using animal protein or gelling agents, as well as plasticizers and coloring agents.

Comparison Board

Definition A flat oral pharmaceutical dosage item that is usually in compressed powder form A shell or container containing a drug or vitamins
Methods of administration Oral, sublingual, rectal, intervaginal Oral
Appearance Flat, compressed powder, comes in different shapes and sizes Shiny, comes in different sizes and colors; can be soft or hard-shelled
Processing method Molding or compression Use of animal proteins or gelling agents to contain medicine, using the process of extrusion and spheronization or blow molding
Can it be cut? Yes No, can be opened
Can it be crushed? Yes No
History Used in the 1500s in ancient Egypt Patented in 1834 by Mothes and Dublanc
Different sizes and shapes, scoring allows convenient splitting, low costs, widely accepted
Sealed capsules serves as good oxygen barriers, protection of sensitive ingredients, odorless, tasteless, easy to take, absorbed easily, reduces gastrointestinal irritation
Disadvantages Risk of sensitivity on coatings, processing can add heat or moisture and affect contents, possibility of poor disintegration in gastrointestinal tract Can be too large, possibility of ingredients interacting inside, limited fill weight, costs more


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