What is dosage form? Know About Dosage Forms

Patients who are unable to eat or swallow medicines are given drugs in other dosage forms like parenteral or inhalational. Image: Pixabay

Drug dosage forms are made to administer a drug into the body, make it convenient for patient consumption. Drugs are made into suitable dosage forms to protect the drug from moist, dryness, gastric acid in the stomach. Sometimes dosage forms needed to mask the bitter taste, foul odor of drugs to ease the administration. A dosage form can be in a liquid, semi-solid, solid, or gas form made in accordance with the properties of a drug and its excipients. A dosage form is a combination of an active drug with an inactive excipient (that has no therapeutic effect) to facilitate the drug delivery

Why there is a need for dosage forms?

Dosage forms are manufactured to ensure safe administration and ease the administration of the drug to the required site of action. Following are the reasons:

1. Parenteral e.g. Intravenous/inhalational dosage e.g. aerosols forms to achieve fast onset of action at the site during drug delivery.

2. Solid dosage forms like capsules, tablets to mask the undesirable taste and odor.

3. Dosage forms like coated tablets achieve the delayed action of the drug at a certain site or protect it from the gastric juices.

4. Topical dosage forms like creams, gels, injections to bypass first-pass metabolism (concentration of drug reduces before it reaches the systematic circulation) for faster action.

5. Sterile dosage forms like injections, eye drops for clear, particulate-free drug administration.

6. The suspension dosage form of such drugs that are poorly water-soluble or insoluble.

Types of Dosage forms:

On the basis of route of administration, dosage forms are classified in to:

1. Oral dosage forms

These are absorbed through the lining of the gastrointestinal tract at different rates. Examples include tablets, capsules, suspensions, powder, and lozenges, etc. Oral dosage forms are taken via mouth for systemic effects.

2. Topical dosage forms

These forms of medicines are applied to the skin surface or mucous membrane. Examples include creams, ointments, powders, lotions, etc. It is usually applied for the localized effect. Some drugs absorbed through the skin into systematic circulation such as transdermal patches for birth control, hormone replacement therapy, etc. 

3. Parenteral dosage forms

These are injected into the bloodstream directly through the body tissues and don’t pass the liver. Examples include injections, I.V., etc. Parenteral drugs administer for faster action of the drug at the site.

4. Inhalational dosage forms

These forms of drugs are inhaled through the mouth or nose which act directly on the respiratory system. They are mostly used to treat respiratory problems. This can be in the form of gases or steam etc. Examples include aerosol, nebulizer, vaporizer, etc.

5. Suppositories

These forms of drugs are inserted into the body parts for localized effects. These drugs melt at body temperature to give a therapeutic effect, e.g rectal and vaginal suppositories.


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