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​Benefits of Enteric Coated Capsules

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8 August 2016 No comments

Whether a capsule is made of gelatin or vegetarian ingredients, it is intended to dissolve in the stomach. However, there are times when it benefits the person to have the capsule dissolve in the small intestine and this is what enteric-coated capsules are created for.

What are they?

Enteric coated capsules are capsules that have been coated with acid resistant coating to prevent them from dissolving when they pass the stomach acid. These capsules are then activated only when they pass an alkaline environment -- that is with a pH factor of 5.5 or higher which is often when it reaches the small intestine.

Enteric-coated capsules are designed to be acid resistant and are different from vegetarian capsules that have 5% gellan gum. These products do not meet the pharma dissolution guidelines. That said, the enteric-coated capsules have a pH sensitive polymer added into the shell and will only dissolve once exposed to a pH 5.5 or higher environment.

Benefits

  • Enteric-coated capsules do not dissolve in the mouth and as such, it is perfect for formulations that need to be activated by acid exposure. This prevents it from dissolving while in the mouth and esophagus areas.
  • Many drugs can cause irritation to the stomach area; with enteric-coated capsules, the formulation will pass through the stomach lining without irritating it.
  • The enteric-coated capsule also protects the enzyme inside preventing it from dissolving in the acid environment of the stomach area.
  • This capsule type would take about an hour or two to dissolve making it ideal for time- sensitive medications.