There has been much speculation and confusion among patients as it relates to the different types of formulations for tablets and capsules.
Most oral drug preparations such as tablets and capsules are formulated to release the active ingredient of the drug immediately after it has been administered. These types of drugs are known as immediate-release and are absorbed rapidly within the body. Therefore, their effects are felt quickly, in as little as 20 to 30 minutes but last for a shorter period. These are usually given more frequently during the day.
The next type of formulation is the modified-release dosage forms. These fall into two categories and change the time and/or rate and location at which the active ingredient is released in the body. This is done to achieve the desired effect of the drug and increase patient compliance.
In these types of preparations the active ingredient is released into the body some time after they have been administered. These drugs by-pass the stomach to prevent the gastric juices from destroying the drug or making it inactive. Sometimes these drugs may also be too harsh on the stomach. These types of drugs are usually enteric coated. With these drugs the effects can start within 1-2 hours, can last from 12 to 24 hours. Example: Depakoate.
These types of drugs are released into the body at a slower rate over a period of time. This causes the effect of the drug to last longer in the body and can reduce the frequency you the patient may have to take the medication. Drugs which fall into this category may carry the abbreviations such as SR, CR, CD ER, XL etc. These can be taken also every 12-24 hours with the majority lasting for 24 hours and the effect can start within the first 2-4 hours. Examples are: Voltaren SR, Cardizem CD and Effexor XR.
With modified-release drugs it is important not to crush, chew or break them. These actions can sometimes release the drug too rapidly into your system and cause an increase in side effects or result in drug poisoning. Food can also affect how these drugs may work. Consult your pharmacist before taking these types of drugs, as each drug may be different.
It is very important for you the patient, to be aware of which formulation you are using or your doctor has prescribed for you. Some drugs carry more than one type of formulation which varies in how they are released in your body. These slight variations can be sometimes harmful or fatal if taken incorrectly and/or not recognized at an early stage. Eg: Depakoate and Depakote ER. Hence, to get the utmost from your medication, please discuss further with your doctor and/or pharmacist.
We at Canada Drugs have a team of professional pharmacists, working together with you and your provider to ensure optimal drug care. We value you, our customer and take this opportunity to thank you for allowing us to serve you over the years.