Capsule VS Tablet

capsules and tablets

Have you ever observed medicines when you take them?If you have,you will find that there are often two different types of medicines,generally,they are called capsule and tablet.

And,are you curious about why there are two forms of medicines?Do you want to know what are the differences between them?To explore your questions,just keep on looking through this article,then you will find the answer.

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    1.What is capsule VS tablet?

    At the beginning,you need to know what is capsule&tablet,which form of medicines we call it capsule and which form is tablet.


    capsuleCapsule is to fill the drug powder or granular into empty capsule shells which are made of special film forming materials,it means that the drugs doesn’t contact directly with the human body.

    In general,there are two types of capsules:hard capsules and soft capsules,but the hard capsules are more common in the pharmaceutical industry.


    tabletDifferent from the capsules,tablets are made of the  mixture and compression of drugs and pharmaceutical excipients.There are various tablets, they are mainly peoral tablets,and there are also others such as lozenges, sublingual tablets, oral patches, chewing tablets, dispersive tablets, effervescent tablets,etc.

    And as a fact,the tablet is in base of pills,so it already has a long history.

    2.What is the history of capsule VS tablet?

    As is mentioned above,the tablet has a long history,of course that the capsule is no exception,next,let me introduce the history of them.

    History of Capsule

    history of capsulesThe less well known is that the first capsule was appeared in the 1500BC,it was created in Egypt;then at the 1730,the pharmacist of Vienna began to make capsule out of starch.

    And the capsule making technology was patented in Paris in 1834,and until 1848,the two-piece capsule was created,which marks the empty capsule formally enter the medical field,since then,the capsule is widely applied in pharmaceutical industry.

    History of Tablet

    History of TabletWhereas,the appearance of the tablet is 300 years later than the capsule,it was first created by a british at 1843,at this period,the production of tablet is stayed in a handmade stage,when it goes to the 1870s,the tablet press machine was invented.

    Because of the invention of the tablet press machine,the production efficiency is greatly improved,which promoted the development of the tablet at the same time.After that,the tablet is more widely applied in medical field.

    And in the past decade, with the constant innovation of technology and science, the production condition of tablets is getting better and better.

    3.What are the pros and cons of capsule VS tablet?

    According to the different situations and requirements,the capsules and tablets have their own pros and cons,which will be explained in detail to the below:

    Pros of Capsule

    Pros of CapsuleThe most basic advantage of the capsule is that it can cover the bitter taste of the drugs,meanwhile,the shape,size and smoothness of the capsule is proper to be swallowed.

    Besides,capsule can be quickly dissolved by intestines and stomach,so it can be absorbed easily by human body,which means that the drugs can take their effect as soon as possible.

    In fact,there are some drugs can be irritating if they come into direct contact with the human body,so through filling them into capsules,can take a role in relief,reduce the original irritant of the drug.

    Moreover,filling the powder or granular drugs into capsules,can make them easier to be delivered and carried.It is convenient to carry capsules when you need go outside or go travel,they will not be leaked.

    Cons of Capsule

    Cons of CapsuleOn the one hand,the main material of capsule shell is water-soluble gelatin,so it doesn’t all drugs can be filled into capsules.For a instance,if you fill the aqueous solution into them;the capsules will be dissolved,and if you fill drugs which are prone to weathering or deliquescence,the capsules will be softened or broken.

    On the other hand,after the capsule shells melted in the human body,the amount of local residue drugs is very high, therefore, soluble irritant drugs can not be made into capsules.

    Pros of Tablet

    Pros of TabletOne of the strengths is that,the tablets of the same batch are uniform in shape and size,the dosage of the tablet is highly precision,the error of drug volume between each two tablets is small.

    And another strength is the stability,tablets are dry solid form, and some drugs that are easy to oxidize,deteriorate and deliquescence can be protected by coating, so the light, air, moisture and other factors have little effect on tablets.

    Besides,the tablet is in mechanized production,with high output and low cost,and the sanitary standard is easy to reach.

    Cons of Tablet

    Cons of TabletComparatively,the tablet is a little drier than capsules,and the surface is not very smooth,so sometimes,if the tablet is a little large,it is not easy for children to swallow.

    And,several excipients are added during the tablet forming process,as a result,the dissolving speed of the tablet is slower than capsules,which may effect the bioaccessibility of the tablet.

    In addition,if the tablet is made of drugs that are easy to be volatile,the shelf life will be greatly reduced because the longer you storage it, the lower the drug content will be.

    4.What are the basic difference between capsule and tablet?

    How do you think about the capsule and tablet?Are you interested in the distinctions between the two categories medicines?If you are also curious about them,just read on,I’ll compare them in several aspects.


    AppearanceTo be honest,the appearances of capsules are the same in major cases while tablets have various shapes and sizes,capsules are often in the shape of oval,and the sizes are also the same as each other,the only different point may be the colors.

    However,the appearance of tablets are more richer,they can be customized to different shapes,such as round,oval,triangle,square and even irregular shape,and the sizes of tablets are also diverse.


    TasteTo some extent,capsules are tasteless because the drugs are wrapped in the capsule shells.And since the tablets are compressed from the drugs,they usually taste as the original taste of the drugs,sometimes may be a little bitter.Certainly,if the tablets are coated,they are tasted a little sweet.

    Time of taking effect

    Time of taking effectAs is mentioned above,capsules are easier to be absorbed because the capsule shells are made of water-soluble gelatin which can easily dissolved by stomach and intestine,it means that the capsule can take effect quickly.

    On the contrast,the tablets are a little bit slower in taking effect because there are other excipients added into them.

    Shelf life

    Shelf LifeIt's not hard to guess that the shelf life of tablet is longer,in comparison,the capsules are more easily to be impacted by sunlight and the humidity in the air,so the shelf life of them is relatively shorter.

    5.What are the categories of capsules VS tablets?

    In terms of forms and usage,there are different categories of capsules and tablets,they are as follows:

    Categories of Capsules

    Categories of CapsulesAccording to the different appearance,capsules can be divided into hard capsules and soft capsules.

    Hard capsule is a type of capsule to fill solid drugs into the empty capsule shells,the capsule shells are tough and the moisture content of them is low.

    And the soft capsule is to fill a certain amount of liquid drugs or dissolved solid drugs into a round or oval soft gelatin ball,the soft capsule shell is soft,stretchy and the moisture content of it is high.

    Categories of Tablets

    Categories of TabletsRelatively,the categories of tablets are more than capsules,the main categories are to the below:

    Conventional tablets

    These are the tablets which are compressed by drugs and excipients, they are generally swallowed with water, and also known as pressed tablets or plain tablets.

    Coated tablets

    These are the tablets that wrap coats around the pressed tablets in order to mask the taste of the drugs, enhance the stability, and make the appearance of the tablets more beautiful.

    Chewable tablets

    This type of tablets are often added sweetener to adjust the taste, they are directly chewed and can be absorbed faster.

    Effervescent tablets

    They are tablets which contain effervescent agents that will produce gas while encountering water, then causing the tablets to rapidly disintegrate.

    Buccal tablets

    These tablets need to be slowly dissolved in the mouth, they are generally anti-inflammatory and bactericidal and used to treat diseases of the mouth or throat.

    6.What are the excipients of capsules VS tablets?

    As a fact that the capsules and tablets don’t just made of drugs,there are also some other excipients,now it’s the time to introduce them.

    Excipients of Capsules

    Excipients of CapsulesDiluter

    Diluters are used to improve the physical properties and volume of the contents,the common diluters include mannitol, microcrystalline cellulose,lactose and cornstarch.


    The function of lubricants is to prevent adhesion of powder and metal materials, common magnesium stearate, monostearate triglyceride, stearic acid and talcum powder.


    Glidant is to improve the fluidity of the content,usually refers to silica gel powder and talcum powder.


    This is to ensure the disintegration of the contents,the common disintegrator are cross-linked cellulose, corn starch, cross-linked povidone, pre-gelatinized starch 1500, glycine starch sodium, alginate.

    Wetting agent

    The purpose of wetting agent is to increase the wettability of the drug and the dissolved medium, which can ensure the performance of the formulation.The most common weeting agents are polysorbate 80, sodium dodecyl sulfate and so on.

    Excipients of Tablets

    Excipients of TabletsDiluter

    The function of diluter is to fill the weight or volume of a tablet,to facilitate the pressing process,the commonly used diluters are starch, sugar, cellulose and inorganic salts.


    If the drug itself is sticky, you only need to add a suitable liquid to induce the viscosity, this liquid is called a wetting agent;if the drug itself is not sticky, you need to add a sticky substance, which is called a binder.Because of the same purpose,the wetting agent and binder are collectively called adhesives.

    The most common adhesives includes distilled water, ethanol, starch slurry,sodium carboxymethyl cellulose,hydroxypropyl cellulose,methyl cellulose,ethyl cellulose,hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose and so on.

    Disintegrating agent

    The disintegrating agent is a substance that can quickly break tablets into fine particles in gastric and intestinal fluid, which is conducive to the dissolution and absorption of the main drug in tablets.

    The common disintegrating agents are dry starch,carboxymethyl starch sodium,low-substituted hydroxypropyl cellulose,cross-linked polyvinyl pyrrolidone and croscarmellose sodium.


    The purpose of lubricants is to reduce friction between particles and friction between tablets and die, and it can prevent raw materials from sticking to the surface of punches.

    Generally,lubricants refer to magnesium stearate, talcum powder, hydrogenated vegetable oil, polyethylene glycol and lunar alcohol magnesium sulfate.

    And except the four main ingredients above,colouring agents, taste correction agents and other auxiliary materials are often added to the tablets to improve the taste and appearance.

    7.Which machines can produce capsules&tablets?

    Well,now it's the turn of production machines,after knowing the excipients of capsules and tablets,maybe you are interested at they are produced by which types of machines.

    Production machines of capsules


    In fact,capsules are produced by capsule filling machines,which can filling drug powder into empty capsule shells.There are three types of capsule filling machines:fully automatic capsule filling machines,semi automatic capsule filling machines and manual capsule filling machines.

    They are suitable for different scale industry respectively,so you can choose a proper capsule filling machines according to your production demand.

    Fully automatic capsule filling machine

    Aipak NJP-1200D capsule filling machine

    Aipak NJP-1200D Fully Automatic Capsule Filling Machine

    As the name implies,the fully automatic capsule filling machine can complete the production process automatically,it has a smart touch screen,you can realize operations through it.The fully automatic capsule filling machine is suitable for large-scale production.

    Semi automatic capsule filling machine

    Aipak CGN-208D Semi Automatic Capsule Filling Machine

    Aipak CGN-208D Semi Automatic Capsule Filling Machine

    Comparatively,the semi automatic capsule filling machine isn’t so convenient as fully automatic capsule filling machine,it needs some manual operations during the working process.

    Manual capsule filling machine

    Allpackchina Manual Capsule Filling Machine AS-209

    Allpackchina Manual Capsule Filling Machine AS-209

    As the picture shows,the manual capsule filling machine is totally operated by human hands,the production speed is slow,so that it is only suitable for small-scale production demand.

    Production machines of tablets


    Tablets are produced by tablet press machine,which compress the drug powder to make it become tablets.The most common tablet press machines include:single punch tablet press machine,flower basket tablet press machine,rotary tablet press machine and high speed rotary tablet press machine.

    Single punch tablet press machine

    Aipak TDP-6 Single punch tablet press machine

    Aipak TDP-6 Single punch tablet press machine

    The single punch tablet press machine is designed simple and has a small size,it can save many space,and you can operate this machine easily.It is suitable for small-scale tablet production requirements.

    Flower basket tablet press machine

    Aipak THP15 Flower basket tablet press machine

    Aipak THP15 Flower basket tablet press machine

    The flower basket tablet press machine take advantage of the triangle belt and gear, to drive the spindle rotation, in the process of rotation,the filling, pressing,ejection technological procedures are completed.

    This machine has a large pressure and high precision,it is suitable for small-scale production and it has a wide application.

    Rotary tablet press machine

    Aipak HSZP-35-rotary-tablet-press-machine

    Aipak HSZP-35-rotary-tablet-press-machine

    Rotary tablet press machine is double pressure structure,the machine has a turret,which can contain 33 dies,the turret rotates for a circle,there will be 66 tablets produced.The pressing process is convenient and efficient,which can produce tablets quickly.

    High speed tablet press machine

    Aipak High speed high capacity GZPS660 series rotary tablet press machine

    Aipak High speed high capacity GZPS660 series rotary tablet press machine

    Basically,you can regard this machine as a double-sided rotary tablet press machine,compared to rotary tablet press machine,the high speed rotary tablet press machine achieves higher efficiency pressing process.

    Furthermore,the high speed rotary tablet press machine adopts a touch screen,realizing fully automatic production,it’s obvious that this machine is suitable for large-scale tablet production.

    8.What is the production process of capsule VS tablet?

    Until now,you have already known which types of machine can produce capsules and tablets,are you curious about how them produced?Then it will be introduced to you.

    Production process of capsule

    Production process of capsuleThe production process of capsule includes three stage:the separation of empty capsules,powder filling operation and the locking operation of capsules.

    At the first stage,the empty capsules are arranged on the working plate of the capsule filling machine,and then they will be separated into capsule caps and capsule shells.

    Next,the drug powder falls from the feeding device,and then be filled into the empty capsule shells.

    When the filling process is finished,the machine will lock the capsule caps and capsule shells,so that they become complete capsules.

    In a word,the whole production process of capsules is not complex,and although there are three types capsule filling machines,their production process is similar.

    Production process of tablet

    Production process of tabletSimilarly,the production process of tablet can also be divided into three stages:filling,compression and ejection.

    Firstly,the drug powder fall from the feeding device,then it is filled into the installed dies.

    Secondly,the punches begin to add pressure to the dies continuously,under the pressure,the drug powder is formed to tablets.

    Finally,after the tablets are shaped,the tablet press machine will eject out the them,the whole production process is at the end.

    You can see that the production steps of tablet are simple,the main step is to compress the drug powder which is in the die to help the tablet be created.

    9.Which one is more popular-capsule or tablet?

    In practice,with the rapid development,capsule have become the main oral solid dosage forms in medicine field,it account for a higher proportion of the market,but,why is it more popular than tablet?The main reasons are as follows:

    Preferences of patients

    Preferences of patientsAs is well known,the capsule can mask the bitter taste of the drug itself,and capsule is easier for people to swallow no matter they are adults or children.

    High R&D efficiency

    High R&D efficiencyOn the one hand,the excipient categories of capsules are less than tablets;on the other hand,the test items of capsules are also less than tablets, and the cost of method establishment, verification and analysis of capsule is almost half of that of tablet.

    As a result,the research and development time of capsules are shorter than tablets, so they can be put into the market earlier.

    Lower cost

    Lower costCompared with tablets, capsule has the advantages of simple preparation process, less production steps and simple auxiliary materials,so the comprehensive cost of capsule is less than tablet.

    In summary,in terms of R&D and popularity degree,capsule is better than tablet.But,we can not say absolutly that capsule is the best choice for people,since there are some drugs are more suitable to be made to tablets rather than capsules.


    Since capsule and tablet are the most common medicine forms,this article has explained the difference between the two from various aspects,hope that it is helpful to you,and welcome to contact us whenever you have problems.

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