Better medicines for older patients: Considerations between patient characteristics and solid oral dosage form designs to improve swallowing experience

Nélio Drumond*, Sven Stegemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Oral drug administration provided as solid oral dosage forms (SODF) remains the major route of drug therapy in primary and secondary care. There is clear evidence for a growing number of clinically relevant swallowing issues (e.g., dysphagia) in the older patient population, especially when considering the multimorbid, frail, and polymedicated patients. Swallowing impairments have a negative impact on SODF administration, which leads to poor adherence and inappropriate alterations (e.g., crushing, splitting). Different strategies have been proposed over the years in order to enhance the swallowing experience with SODF, by using conventional administration techniques or applying swallowing aids and devices. Nevertheless, new formulation designs must be considered by implementing a patient centric approach in order to efficiently improve SODF administration by older patient populations. Together with appropriate SODF size reductions, innovative film coating materials that can be applied to SODF and provide swallowing safety and efficacy with little effort being required by the patients are still needed. With that in mind, a literature review was conducted in order to identify the availability of patient centric coating materials claiming to shorten esophageal transit times and improve the overall SODF swallowing experience for older patients. The majority of coating technologies were identified in patent applications, and they mainly included well-known water soluble polymers that are commonly applied into pharmaceutical coatings. Nevertheless, scientific evidence demonstrating the benefits of given SODF coating materials in the concerned patient populations are still very limited. Consequently, the availability for safe, effective, and clinically proven solutions to address the increasing prevalence of swallowing issues in the older patient population is still limited.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Administration aids
  • Administration devices
  • Dysphagia
  • Film coating materials
  • Older patients
  • Patient centric drug product design
  • Solid oral dosage forms
  • Swallowing problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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