Difference between Sustained Release and Prolonged Release Tablets : Pharmaceutical Guidelines

Difference between Sustained Release and Prolonged Release Tablets

Both of these are delayed release tablets having different properties in their drug release timings.
The words sustained release and prolonged release can be used interchangeably because they mean the same thing. But the difference between sustained release tablets and prolonged release tablets is surely evident.

Sustained release tablets are in a form of dosage where a drug is administered to a patient at a given or calculated rate with the aim of maintaining a certain concentration of the administered drug over a specific period of time into the patient's system while reducing possible side effects. 

Sustain Release TabletsWhile prolonged release tablets are meant to effect after some time from the moment they are administered and they are known to be released in small portions over a long period of time with no specifications to time or rate of concentration.

Sustained release tablets are more of a controlled release. This happens where a capsule is made and is filled with other small pellets of drugs with different coatings that will not dissolve immediately once they are administered, but will take time to release their contents at a predetermined rate. 

While prolonged release tablets and capsules are aimed at delaying in administration and dissolve at a slower and constant rate into the body system with the benefit of not having to take the drugs more frequently. This is mostly for patients with chronic illness they are able to take drugs less number of times in a day.

Prolonged release in oral dose formulations is mostly time-dependent and delayed release. Often prolonged release is targeted and intended to heal certain areas of the body system that can not be cured effectively by other ordinary drugs and ointments. This is different with the sustained release tablets as they are often administered slowly to maintain a particular amount of drug levels into the bloodstream during a drug administration or injection so as to maintain an efficient healing process.
Mostly prolonged release tablets are administered to heal certain parts or target body parts. Once they are introduced into the blood system they are released either on the specific part or near the target site that needed the cure. While the sustained release does not target particular body sites or parts.

Sustained release tablets are often time-release drugs, they can either be released immediately or in small amounts after administration. They include pills and capsules. Time and rate of administration of the formulations are predetermined so as to reduce the effect on blood levels or reduce effects on the intestinal tract and even extend the drugs half life. 

This is not the same with prolonged release formulations as the drugs administered are meant to prolong their effectiveness into the bloodstream. This has the advantage of less administration of drugs, improved healing process as patients comply when taking drugs less number of times and also the benefit of a constant blood level. 

However prolonged release drugs in some cases may fail to be completely absorbed into the blood system thus causing chronic diseases to recur eg stomach disorders, also prolonged-release tablets in most instances are more expensive than ordinary and other drugs thus they might not be affordable to patients who are not financially stable.





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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