Exploring TiO2-free hard capsules

Published: 12-Mar-2024

The quest for TiO2 alternatives underscores the unwavering commitment of the pharmaceutical industry to deliver safe and effective medicines to patients worldwide

Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) has long been a cornerstone of the pharmaceutical industry, revered for its role as an opacifier and white colorant in various solid oral dosage forms such as tablets and hard capsules. However, the veil of trust surrounding this ubiquitous ingredient has been gradually lifted as concerns regarding its safety, particularly in relation to potential nanomaterial risks, have surfaced. This prompted swift action, with France leading the charge by banning TiO2 as a food additive in 2020, followed by its suspension in the European Union in 2022.

The decision to scrutinise TiO2's safety was prompted by mounting evidence suggesting potential genotoxicity concerns. While initial assessments by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2016 found no significant issues, subsequent updates in 2020 painted a more alarming picture, ultimately leading to the classification of TiO2 as unsafe. Despite this, recognising the widespread use of TiO2 in medicines, the European Commission permitted its continued use to avert potential shortages, with a review slated for April 2024.

In the wake of these regulatory shifts, the pharmaceutical industry found itself at a crossroads, faced with the daunting task of identifying viable alternatives to TiO2 . This endeavour encompassed a myriad of challenges, from conducting comprehensive risk assessments to ensuring the swift provision of technical data by suppliers, all while maintaining cost-effectiveness and upholding stringent quality standards.

It is against this backdrop of regulatory uncertainty and industry-wide upheaval that Qualicaps Europe emerged as a beacon of innovation, spearheading the development of TiO2 -free hard capsules using hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) and gelatin. Their approach was characterized, encompassing stringent safety assessments, careful opacifying agent selection, and scientific testing to ensure both efficacy and compliance.

The transition away from TiO2 necessitated a holistic reassessment across various domains, including regulatory frameworks, safety risks, and quality verifications. The search for alternative opacifying agents was further complicated by the need to match TiO2's properties while ensuring colour consistency and mechanical performance, presenting a formidable challenge for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The TiO2 -free capsules developed by Qualicaps Europe underwent rigorous testing, including comprehensive particle size distribution analysis and quality evaluations. The results of these assessments demonstrated not only the absence of nanoparticles but also the capsules' full compliance with dissolution and disintegration standards, paving the way for their widespread adoption within the industry.

As the pharmaceutical landscape continues to evolve amidst regulatory uncertainties, the innovation showcased by Qualicaps Europe represents a beacon of hope for the industry. By providing a safe, effective, and visually appealing alternative to TiO2 , these capsules not only address pressing safety concerns but also usher in a new era of drug formulation and delivery.

In conclusion, the quest for TiO2 alternatives underscores the unwavering commitment of the pharmaceutical industry to delivering safe and effective medicines to patients worldwide.

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