When it comes to pharmaceutical, nutritional or cosmeceutical dosing, some of the most crucial parameters are safety, product effectiveness and patient adherence. The right formulation can have a huge impact on whether the customer continues taking their capsules, as well as whether the ingredients act as intended. Today, innovations in the capsule formulation space are creating new possibilities for how capsules look, feel and act, with huge benefits for customers.

Softgel capsules, containing a liquid, paste or emulsion active ingredient, are trusted and favoured by many patients. Compared to traditional hard capsules or granules, they are easier to swallow and more attractive in appearance. They also offer enhanced bioavailability, exact dosing and an extended shelf life. Softgels have now achieved strong recognition in the prescription, consumer health and supplements markets.

Softgel experts Sofgen Pharmaceuticals present four key options to consider when it comes to softgel capsule formulations. Having offered softgel capsule formulations since the 19th century, Sofgen Pharmaceuticals is Latin America’s largest softgel producer, exporting to more than 38 countries worldwide.

  1. Fixed-dose combination

According to the World Health Organisation, the simplicity of a dosage regimen is one of the factors with the greatest influence on therapy adherence[1]. Fixed-dose combination (FDC) systems aim to increase patient compliance in therapies involving two or more active drugs. If the doses can be combined, this decreases the burden on the patient and reduces prescription problems.

Unigel is a revolutionary smart softgel from Sofgen Pharmaceuticals which allows multi-functional ingredients to exist in one dose. The softgel capsule can contain a second solid dosage form, in softgel, tablet or granule form, enabling multi-active formulations for unique prescription, OTC and nutraceutical products. Different release profiles are available, and APIs can be combined that aren’t normally compatible.

Unlike other FDC options, which include multilayer tablets, Unigel offers all the benefits of the soft gelatine capsule, which is convenient and easy to swallow. For companies, it creates possibilities for portfolio diversification and brand differentiation.

  • Chewable capsules and gummies

Gummies or soft chew supplements are the second most commonly used formulations by consumers, and they are seeing the largest growth of any format. In fact, in 2021, nutraceutical gummy sales in the US reached $2.63Bn at a 24% MS and 23% growth for natural enhanced and conventional/multioutlet channels, and the global gummy market is projected to reach $42.06 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 12.6%.

Because no water or food is needed to take them, and they are easy to swallow, they offer customers excellent convenience and taste. This makes them ideal for patient groups such as children and seniors.

Chewable formulations also offer the added advantage of immediate release and absorption of ingredients in the mouth. For companies, they present new opportunities to innovate and differentiate.

Sofgen Pharmaceuticals ChewGels are chewable soft capsules designed to create a new sensory experience for customers. The ChewGel shell supports solutions, suspensions, pastes and emulsions, and the lipid coating masks unpleasant tastes.

  • Customer appeal

The visual and physical appeal should not be overlooked when it comes to formulating capsules for pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals and nutritional supplements. Not only is a customer more likely to adhere to their regime if the products are appealing, the ability to customise the shape and colour of the capsule can also boost safety by enabling more convenient differentiation between capsules.

All Sofgen Pharmaceuticals softgels offer an attractive physical appearance and are available in a variety of colours, shapes, sizes and clarities. StripeGel takes this a step further: an unparalleled custom capsule service, StripeGel offers a completely customisable capsule, enabling brand identification and a new customer experience.

  • Sustainability

Various populations have dietary restrictions imposed by factors including religion, culture, lifestyle or health. Soft capsules that are non-GMA, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan certifiable can cater to these diverse groups. This enables companies to respond to their customers’ needs and reach more people, as well as fulfilling some of their corporate ESG goals.

Sofgen Pharmaceuticals’ VersaGel is a vegetarian softgel that is suitable for the encapsulation of high viscous, semisolid or high pH contents. Being of vegetable origin, it offers added advantages, including being more stable than proteins at extreme pH values and moderate ionic strength, the ability to encapsulate high temperature fills, and being better for the environment.

The best formulation for the job

Sofgen Pharmaceuticals’ deep knowledge of gelatine formulation and scientific expertise in softgel technologies has enabled the development of a range of innovative formulations. Each formulation is designed with patient adherence, safety and efficiency in mind, offering a range of options for diverse applications.

To find out more about Sofgen Pharmaceuticals softgels, download the whitepaper.

[1] Adh.200×260/0 (who.int)