Benefits of Enteric Coated Capsules
Most pharmaceutical capsules are made of gelatine or a vegetarian gelatine equivalent (typically a form of cellulose). These materials dissolve in the low pH gastric juices in the stomach. Some medications, however, are not effective if they are released into the stomach and they are required to pass through into the intestines where they can be absorbed at higher pH. Enteric-coated capsules have been designed to pass through the stomach unaffected and to dissolve in the intestinal tract.
What are they?
Enteric coated capsules are capsules that have an acid resistant coating to prevent them from dissolving when they pass through the stomach. The capsules are activated only when they pass through an alkaline environment -- that is with a pH factor of 5.5 or higher - which is usually when they reach the small intestine.
- Enteric-coated capsules do not dissolve in the mouth and therefore are perfect for formulations that need not to be activated by acid exposure. The coating prevents the capsule from dissolving while in the mouth and oesophagus areas.
- Many drugs can cause irritation to the stomach if released there; with enteric-coated capsules, the formulation will pass through the stomach without irritating the stomach lining.
- The enteric-coating also prevents any enzyme present in the capsule from dissolving in the acid environment of the stomach area.
- This enteric coated capsule typically takes an hour or two to dissolve, making it ideal for time- sensitive medications.