Effect of different splitting techniques on the characteristics of divided tablets of five commonly split drug products in Jordan

Keywords: Self Administration, Tablets, Medication Errors, Drug Prescriptions, Reproducibility of Results, Jordan


Objective: To determine the accuracy, variability, and weight uniformity of tablet subdivision techniques utilized to divide the tablets of five drug products that are commonly prescribed for use as half tablets in Jordan. 

Methods: Ten random tablets of five commonly subdivided drug products were weighed and subdivided using three subdivision techniques: hand breaking, kitchen knife, and tablet cutter. The five commonly subdivided drug products (warfarin 5 mg, levothyroxine 50 μg, levothyroxine 100 μg, candesartan 16 mg, and carvedilol 25 mg) were weighed. The weights were analyzed for acceptance, accuracy, and variability. Weight variation acceptance criteria were adopted in this work as a tool to indicate the properness of the subdivision techniques used to produce acceptable half tablets. Other relevant physical characteristics of the five products such as tablet shape, dimensions, face curvature, score depth, and crushing strength were measured. 

Results: All tablets were round in shape, had weights that ranged between 100.63 mg (standard deviation=0.99) and 379.04 mg (standard deviation=3.00), and had crushing strengths that ranged between 23.29 N (standard deviation=3.58)and 103.35 N (standard deviation=14.98). Both candesartan and carvedilol were bi-convex in shape with an extent of face curvature equal to about 33%. In addition, percentage score depth of the tablets had a range between 0% and 24%. The accuracy and variability of subdivision varied according to the subdivision technique used and tablet characteristics. Accuracy range was between 81% and 109.8%. Moreover, the relative standard deviation was between 1.5% and 17.4%. Warfarin 5 mg subdivided tablets failed the weight variation test regardless of the subdivision technique used. Subdivision by hand produced half tablets that were acceptable for levothyroxine 50 μg and levothyroxine 100 μg. Subdivision by knife produced half tablets that were acceptable only for candesartan tablets. However, the tablet cutter produced half tablets that passed the weight variation test for four out of the five drug products tested in this study.

Conclusions: The tablet cutter performed better than the other subdivision techniques used. It produced half tablets that passed the weight uniformity test for four drug products out of the five.


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How to Cite
Gharaibeh SF, Tahaineh L. Effect of different splitting techniques on the characteristics of divided tablets of five commonly split drug products in Jordan. Pharm Pract (Granada) [Internet]. 2020Apr.23 [cited 2020May29];18(2):1776. Available from: https://pharmacypractice.org/journal/index.php/pp/article/view/1776
Original Research