A tablet is a pharmaceuticals dosage form. It comprises a mixture of active substances and excipients, usually in powder form, pressed or compacted from a powder into a solid dose. The excipients can include diluents, binders or granulating agents, glidants (flow aids) and lubricants to ensure efficient tabletting; disintegrants to promote tablet break-up in the digestive tract; sweeteners or flavors to enhance taste; and pigments to make the tablets visually attractive.
A polymer coating is often applied to make the tablet smoother and easier to swallow, to control the release rate of the active ingredient, to make it more resistant to the environment (extending its shelf life), or to enhance the tablet's appearance. The compressed tablet is the most popular dosage form in use today. About two-thirds of all prescriptions are dispensed as solid dosage forms, and half of these are compressed tablets.
In the tablet-pressing process, it is important that all ingredients be fairly dry, powdered or granular, somewhat uniform in particle size, and freely flowing. Mixed particle sized powders can segregate during manufacturing operations due to different densities, which can result in tablets with poor drug or active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) content uniformity but granulation should prevent this. Content uniformity ensures that the same API dose is delivered with each tablet. Tablets are simple and convenient to use. They provide an accurately measured dosage of the active ingredient in a convenient portable package, and can be designed to protect unstable medications or disguise unpalatable ingredients. Colored coatings, embossed markings and printing can be used to aid tablet recognition. Manufacturing processes and techniques can provide tablets special properties, for example, sustained release or fast dissolving formulations.