What are some of the most important resources for patient health management? The first answer many people think up is doctors— and for good reason. Nutritionists, exercise, and physical therapists are also common answers to this question.
Another answer is pharmacies/pharmacists. Pharmacies are important for dispensing the medications that people need. Another important aspect of medications is the pharmaceutical packaging that contains them.
The types of materials that hold medications are selected for a variety of reasons. The primary reasons are to ensure safe transport and containment.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types of pharmaceutical packaging products and materials.
Primary Pharmaceutical Packaging
Primary pharmaceutical packaging is the container that holds medications. Here are some of the most common containers below.
Vials are a versatile storage container because they can hold many different kinds of medications. They can hold liquids, solids, and powders. These are a great choice for storage if a patient requires a larger dose of medicine.
The type of material a vial is made from can affect how it closes.
Glass vials can have several different cap options.
Screw vials close with a screw cap or a dropper. Lip vials close with a plastic stopper or cork. Crimp vials close with a rubber stopper and metal cap.
Plastic vials can have the aforementioned closure methods, as well as hinge caps. These snap shut when they are pressed.
Bottles are used for liquids, tablets, and capsules. The material used most often to hold liquids is glass. It is effective at keeping foreign materials out.
Plastic is the material of choice for tablets and pills. They also come in different colors: orange or light brown are the most common. These colors prevent UV light from harming the contents inside.
Not only do they provide protection, but they also allow the contents of the bottle to be visible.
Blister packs hold solid doses of medication. Blister packs are made out of plastic, paper, or foil.
These packs contain a pocket or cavity made from plastic in the package that holds the medication. The back is made out of paperboard or a seal of aluminum or plastic. The backs can be punctured by hand to extract the medication.
These packs are easy to produce and less wasteful than other packages. They require little material for production and are cost-effective.
The packaging also ensures that bacteria and foreign objects cannot contaminate the medication. Dosing is also easier to follow, which results in greater patient satisfaction.
Sachets are small square or rectangular pouches that store medication. The pouches are most often made using plastic.
These pouches are used most often for powdered medications. However, they also find use as containers for liquids, too.
Sachets can be single-use pharmaceutical packages or resealable. The pouches are most often perforated to make them easy to tear open. This can help the elderly, people with weak hands, and people with arthritis or osteoporosis.
For people who are around small children, these pouches can be made to be child-resistant. By using a special material called laminated PET aluminum foil, the pouches do not tear. The only way to open these pouches is by using scissors.
Pre-filled syringes are a popular choice for administering medications. This method helps reduce drug waste while increasing the lifespan of the drug. This also helps patients since they can give themselves the drug at home.
Unlike vials, syringes have less chance for overfill of the medication. This is a great boon for pharmaceutical companies handling expensive medications.
Pre-filled syringes also benefit from auto-injection systems, which make injections safer, easier, and more convenient.
Glass is the most popular material in use for pre-filled syringes. Its barrier seal is the greatest reason for its popularity.
Polymer is also a growing choice as the material used in their production. Polymer is stable and inert, which cuts down on the risk of medications reacting with the material. Polymer also lends itself to a wide array of design options.
Ampoules are small, sealed vials that hold liquid medications. They are almost always made out of glass. On rare occasions, they will be made out of plastic.
Glass ampoules are hermetically sealed by melting the top over a flame. This process is done to ensure that the medication inside is protected from air and bacteria. When ready for use, the neck is snapped off.
Glass ampoules tend to be more expensive than other pharmaceutical packaging products.
Types of Materials
Glass and plastics are the most common materials used to package medications. A wide variety of different kinds of glass and plastics make up pharmaceutical packaging. Here are some of the varieties and their differences.
Glass is transparent, tough, and durable. It also allows itself to be labeled with ease. The transparency of glass also allows the contents to be identified without hassle.
Glass can be made into many shapes and sizes to hold different dosages.
Important considerations when pharmaceutical packaging companies select a material are impermeability and chemical inertness. Packaging needs to be sealed so that outside elements do not come into contact with medications.
However, because the material is in direct contact with the medications, the chemical properties can’t contaminate them.
Orange and brown glass also protect medications from UV rays, which can cause some medications to deteriorate. There are a few different types of glass packaging.
This type of glass is resilient and chemically inert. Containers that use this type of glass hold strong acids and alkalis.
Surface-Treated Soda Lime Glass
This glass is more inert than borosilicate glass. This glass receives a sulfur treatment, which helps prevent weathering.
Regular Soda Lime Glass
Regular soda-lime glass has average chemical inertness. Medications in these containers will be less sensitive to a chemical reaction.
Plastic may be the most versatile material in the world. Its lightweight, flexible, and can be made into a package of any shape and size. It is also difficult to break.
The sole downside of plastic pharmaceutical packaging is the potential for chemical leaching. There are a variety of different plastic containers.
This type of plastic is effective at protecting against moisture. However, it does not do well against air and other gases. Polyethylene cracks if it suffers stress.
Polypropylene has many of the same qualities as polyethylene. However, this type of plastic does not crack under stress. It has a high melting point, which makes it ideal for boilable packages and objects that need sterilization.
Its big drawback is that it is brittle at low temperatures.
PVC is a good barrier against gases and has a high degree of stiffness. This makes it harder to break. PVC is used on glass bottles to provide a shatter-resistant coat.
Polystyrene is a rigid, clear plastic. It does not do well when holding liquids. It also has a high permeability when it comes to liquids and gases.
To increase its strength and resistance against permeation, it is combined with rubber and acrylic compounds.
Nylon is quite strong, making it hard to destroy. It also resists the effects of many acids and alkalis. Nylon is permeable to water vapor, but a coat of polyethylene can fix this.
Nylon is not used for the long-term storage of products.
Polycarbonate has a variety of benefits.
You can sterilize it many times. It is rigid to the point that it can be a replacement for glass products.
It also has high-dimensional stability and a high degree of impact strength. It is resistant to strain, has low water absorption, is transparent, and has a resistance to heat and flame.
Nitrile polymer products store items that aren’t kept in ordinary packages. Nitrile polymers have excellent protection against gases, have good chemical resistance, and are durable.
This plastic has excellent strength and provides great protection against gases.
Secondary packaging is what contains the primary packaging of medications. Most secondary packaging is cartons and boxes that group medicines together. Some other kinds include shipping containers and injection trays for syringes.
For pharmacies or medical companies that want to manage their medicinal shipping, see GlobalVision’s Pharmaceutical Packaging checkup.
Your Comprehensive Business Source
Many elements go into making pharmaceutical packaging. Different containers have better storage and dispensary methods. Some packages are excellent for helping patients receive the correct dose of medication.
What these packages are made of is also an important consideration. Certain materials have properties that help protect medications. Others also have properties that protect the package from corrosion or damage from the contents.
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