A personalised dosing strategy using 3D-printing to facilitate zolpidem withdrawal therapy

The long-term use of benzodiazepine receptor agonists (BZRAs) is associated with multiple side effects, such as increased sedation, hangover or an elevated risk of dependency and abuse. Unfortunately, the long-term use of BZRAs is reaching worrying intake rates, and therefore, the need for action is high. It was demonstrated already that the overall willingness of patients for deprescription increased when a slow dose reduction scheme with the possibility for dose increase, if needed, is employed.

The on-demand production of a dosage form containing a personalised, flexible dose would greatly benefit this treatment strategy. 3D-printing is a flexible, cost- and time-efficient technique on a small scale and is particularly well suited to produce such flexible dosage forms. This presentation covers the development and production of a personalised dosing platform of zolpidem hemitartrate using extrusion-based 3D-printing, while in addition addressing the future needs and control strategies to successfully implement 3D-printing in the (hospital) pharmacy.

A presentation by Silke Henry, Ph.D. Student, Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Ghent.


Question 1: What drives you?
As a 3D-printing enthusiast, I’m thrilled to work as a PhD student on such an innovative production technique enabling the future patient to have a truly tailored dosing strategy with enhanced treatment efficiency.

Question 2: Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
A relevant case of medical 3D-printing will be presented while also the future of extrusion-based 3D-printing in a (hospital) pharmacy setting will be discussed.

Question 3: What emerging technologies / trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
True digital pharmacy using extrusion-based 3D-printing will require a GMP accepted printer with optimized process control, implementation of process analytical technology and broadening of available feedstock material.

Question 4: What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
Regulatory hurdles might be easier to tackle when a fully in-process controlled printer is available. Moreover, an increased availability of feedstock material with acceptable properties for 3D-printing might broaden its applicability.

Question 5: What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Personalisation of dosage forms requires a flexible production technology, while regulatory affairs might prove too rigid to enable a fast transition of 3D-printing to the (hospital) pharmacy.

About Silke Henry
Silke Henry has obtained her Master in Drug Development in 2018 at Ghent University with great distinction and has been rewarded the Bank van Breda prize for her engagement at the faculty. For her master’s thesis, she developed actively targeting paramagnetic micelles at the University of Turin. In addition, during her studies, she has successfully completed the Honours Programme in Life Sciences where she evaluated the antibiotic susceptibility of multispecies biofilms. In 2019 she started her PhD research on the production of oral solid dosage forms by means of FDM 3D-printing. She investigates the interplay between material, process and printer-dependent variables and the production of a flexible dosing platform to aid in withdrawal therapy.

About University of Ghent
In the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology fundamental and applied research is carried out in the fields of granulation, tabletting, extrusion, spray-drying, freeze-drying, prilling and Intraperitoneal drug delivery. The research is focused on the development of innovative drug dosage forms (mainly solid dosage forms) for human application as well as for veterinary use. These dosage forms are based on pharmaceutical accepted excipients used as such or as mixtures to impart specific drug release properties (immediate, controlled or sustained release) to the formulation.

Silke Henry is speaker at the 2022 edition of the 3D Pharma Printing Conference.

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