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Edible strips now deliver drugs

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, makers of nutraceuticals and over-the-counter cold and flu remedies truly must appreciate the success of breath freshener strips, which debuted about three years ago. The strips dissolve quickly on the tongue, they eliminate the need to measure and pour a liquid dose of medicine, and the pocket-sized rigid plastic cases that protect the strips provide consumer convenience.

Among the packaged strips that create a new method of delivering drugs and vitamins are the following:
• Novartis Consumer Health's Thera Flu strips for adults and Triaminic Thin Strips for children are marketed in a package (shown) weighing 0.05 lb, with dimensions of 3.83"Wx4.35"Hx0.79"D. In July, reported: "Novartis Consumer Health is set to become one of the first companies to launch a pharmaceutical based in the 'film strip' format." The report said that Novartis claimed that Triaminic and Theraflu Thin Strips were "the first systemic medicines to be delivered in this form."
• That same report noted that Zengen last year launched a strip that delivers benzocaine, a local anesthetic, for sore throats. "At the time, the company claimed this was the first time that this type of delivery system had been used for an active pharmaceutical ingredient," the report said.
• Watson Foods' managing director of international sales, Walter Zachowitz, told last November that the delivery method will be more than a fad for nutraceuticals. "The real potential, however, is as a drug delivery system, although this is at least three years down the line," he was quoted as saying. He said that outer packaging is the key to keeping the film product dissolvable in the mouth, yet also able to survive some moisture to prevent curling or clumping together in the dispensers.
• InnoZen, a Woodland Hills, CA, drug maker, recently introduced Suppress Cough as "medicine in a strip." In a September 11, 2005, report on Business/Your Money, Gary Kehoe, who directs research and development at InnoZen, noted, "If you had a tickle in your throat at church, it would be very easy to pull one out and put it on your tongue to suppress the cough before it starts. If you were going to pull out a traditional medicine and be fiddling around with foil or tablets shaking around, it would not be as discreet."
• Flatmints reports that it is developing a range of pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical-grade packaging solutions for the edible film strip market. On its Web site, the company says, "Dissolvable film, which can be used to deliver functional properties, is set to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry. The benefits of film over conventional delivery systems are numerous: faster absorption into the bloodstream, more portable than syrups and tablets, easy to administer, more cost-effective than conventional tablet solutions, delivers up to 20 mg of an active ingredient."

--By Jim Butschli, Editor
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