b. Less than a century ago, the vast majority of the prescriptions filled were for
pills. Due to the advent of more easily prepared, cheaper, and more efficacious dosage
forms, pills are rarely prepared in pharmacies now and constitute only a very small
fraction of the commercially prepared medications.
a. The tablet is a widely used dosage form. Tablets are supplied in many
shapes, sizes, and colors.
b. A tablet is a solid medicated dosage form made by compression or molding.
ADVANTAGES OF TABLETS
a. Precision of Dosage. Suppose you select a bottle of 250 aspirin tablets
which has a label statement that each tablet contains 325-milligrams (mg) of aspirin.
How can you be confident that each tablet contains 325-mg of aspirin? The United
States Pharmacopoeia/National Formulary is specific in stating standards for tablets.
Thus, when a physician prescribes two tablets of aspirin (325-mg per tablet), the patient
will receive 650-mg of drug. Liquid preparations are difficult to measure accurately (for
example, one teaspoon might contain 5-milliliters (ml), while another teaspoon might
b. Prolonged Stability. Some drugs are more stable in tablet form than in
solution or suspension form. Hence, supplying the medication in tablet form ensures
that the drug will have an acceptable stability period. Of course, the expiration date of
any medication should be checked before that medication is dispensed.
c. Ease of Handling. Tablets are easy to count and dispense. They are also
easy for the patient to obtain from the container for administration purposes.
d. Ease of Storage. Tablets come supplied in a wide-variety of container sizes.
The containers are easy to store. Many tablets are now supplied in plastic containers.
DISADVANTAGES OF TABLETS
Although tablets are widely used, they do have some disadvantages. The
following are two disadvantages of tablets:
a. Predictability of Absorption. It is sometimes difficult to predict the actual
amount of active ingredient that will be absorbed into the patient's bloodstream. For
example, if a tablet fails to disintegrate properly in the patient's gastrointestinal tract, the
patient cannot receive the therapeutic dose of the drug the prescriber desired.
b. Inability of the Patient to Swallow. Very young or elderly patients may be
unable to swallow tablets. In this situation, another dosage form should be prescribed.