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Direct compression

Direct compression is the simplest form of oral dosage production as it contains the fewest process stages, leading to a shorter process cycle and faster production times.

Technical information

There are compelling reasons for seeking to use Direct compression wherever possible, owing to the speed and efficiency of the processes. Choices will be defined by a range of factors, not all of which are favourable to Direct compression. These include:

  • Need to use excipients that have been particle engineered to provide exactly the right flow and compression characteristics. These are known as “DC excipients” and can be more costly than basic excipients.
  • Consideration of the active ingredient dosage levels. There is a “sweet spot” for Direct compression, between 0.5 mg and 50 mg, although formulators will have different views on this.
  • In order to choose the right options we recommend discussion with our technical experts, who will take you through a rapid and efficient process designed to aid your decision-making.

Process stages

To produce tablets and capsules by Direct compression requires just three process stages. The ingredients are weighed, blended and then compacted directly following lubrication. In some cases an additional coating can be applied to the finished tablets and capsules, but this is an option, not a necessity.

Excipient options

Most of the major excipient options can be used successfully for direct compression. These include most forms of lactose (spray-dried, anhydrous and granulated), but Micro-Crystalline Cellulose (MCC) can also be used (we recommend our Pharmacel® 102 and 112) and different forms of starch. We recommend that you consult one of our formulation experts in order to review all potential options and make the right choices.

Do you want to optimise your DC formulation?

Direct compression is gaining popularity in OSD formulation, as it typically reduces the formulation development period and reduces integral production costs. It does, however, also pose a number of challenges for formulators.