Many medications come in either a capsule or a tablet. On the other hand, some are only available in one form. This may lead people to question why some drugs are only available in tablets. It may also lead a person to wonder which type of medication he or she should take — capsule vs tablet. There are key differences between the two, but some drugs can be taken either way.
Tablets consist of a powdered form a medication along with additives. Machines press the pills into a hard, solid pill. Tablets come in various sizes, sizes, and colors. Once you take the tablet, it breaks down into your digestive tract.
Capsules work the same way but have a slightly different appearance. Capsules have an outer shell with the medication inside in either pellet, powder form, or gelatin. Hard capsules have two, hard halves that fit together with the medication inside. Soft gels, on the other hand, have a soft outer shell, and the inside consists of the medication suspended in a gelatin or other similar substance.
In terms of how quickly these types of drugs act, capsules break down quicker. Certain medications are in capsule form so that your body can process them quickly. Some medications are available in tablets that are quick release, but your body still can’t process a drug in tablet form as quickly as one in capsule form.
Tablets tend to have a longer shelf life when compared to capsules. That makes them more beneficial for people who take PRN medications (as needed ones).
Cost to Manufacture
Generally, tablets are less costly to manufacture. However, different medications cost different amounts because of the ingredients and the rest of the manufacturing process, but capsules are less costly to make than tablets in general. You may notice this in the cost of your prescription.
Can Accommodate Higher Dosages
You can take a higher dosage of a medication in a tablet as opposed to a capsule. With the capsule form of a drug, you may need to take two. In some cases, you can only receive a high-dosage medication in tablet form.
Effectiveness When Broken Down
Capsules tend to break down better. In fact, they break down more consistently. How a medication breaks down affects its absorption and effectiveness.
Possibility of Irritation
Capsules, both soft and hard-shelled versions, are less likely to irritate your gastrointestinal tract.
Capsules are less likely to leave a bad taste in your mouth because of their outside coating.
Capsules and tablets are two drug administration vessels. They both have their share of pros and cons in the capsule vs tablet debate. Sometimes, you may only be able to take a medication in one form and not the other, and this could help you better understand why.