Types and Size of Capsules : Pharmaceutical Guidelines

Types and Size of Capsules

Know the different types of capsules produced in pharmaceuticals including their capacity and sizes.
Capsules are gelatin containers that contain medicines. These are common pharmaceutical dosage forms those are easy to manufacture. Capsules do not require any complex formulation to manufacture.

Capsules are of following two types:
1. Soft gelatin capsules
2. Hard gelatin capsules

Softgel
1. Soft Gelatin Capsules: These are also called as softgel. Soft gelatin capsules are manufactured as single piece capsule shell. These capsules are suitable for a non-aqueous solution such as oils. Active ingredients are dissolved or suspended in an oily base. 

Manufacturing and filling of soft gelatin capsules are done same time on the same machine. The content of capsule is filled during the manufacturing the shell. These capsules melt within the minutes in the stomach releasing the content having within it. These contain 5% to 14% of moisture content. Sometimes soft gelatin capsules are printed with brand names or strengths.


Hard Gelatin Shells
2. Hard Gelatin Capsules: Hard gelatin capsules consist of two parts, one is body and other is the cap of capsules. These are supplies in closed condition but without locking. Generally, body and cap have different colors. Hard gelatin capsules are dry in nature and active ingredients are filled in powder form in the hard gelatin capsules. 

The body part of the capsule is filled, closed by the cap and locked by pressing genteelly by the capsule machines or manually. These are disintegrated in 3 minutes and release the content. These are hygroscopic in nature and contain 12% -16% of moisture. Sometimes it is required to release the drug at any target then hard gelatin capsules are filled with target release pellets. In some cases, tablets are also filled in the gelatin capsules.


Gelatin capsule shells have great potential of microbial growth because of its nutritional quality. So it is important to analyze the gelatin shells for microbial contamination. Gelatin is manufactured from the animal bones. Vegetarian capsules are manufactured from hypromellose – a polymer of cellulose.

Capsules are having different sizes according to the requirements. The capacity of capsules varies from 0.13 ml to 28 ml. Following is the list of the different sizes of capsule shells.

Table of Size






Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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