Tablets Sizes and Shapes

tablets sizes

Tablets and capsules are the widely prescribed form of solid oral dosage medications. Over the years, the pharmaceutical industry has made tremendous progress. Now tablets come in various sizes and shapes. These tablets have benefits over other forms of medication as they are easy to swallow, have precision in their dosage, and have ease of administration. Many diverse forms of tablets are available in the market. The use of tablets is quite widespread due to their expediency and variety of types.

Do you have different questions in your mind regarding tablets like what are various sizes of tablets? What are different shaped tablets available in the market? These questions about tablets and many more will be discussed in this blog.

In this blog, we will discuss the mechanism of action of different tablet types and the factors which should be considered during the designing of tablets.

Let’s start with this informative guide!

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    1.What do you know about different sizes of tablets?

    • Different shapes tablets have a diverse range of sizes but generally size of tablets is in the range of about 1mm to 22 mm
    • FDA has recommended that size of tablet should not be more than 22 mm.
    • Size of tablet impacts the passage of tablets through pharynx. Large sized tablets get lodged in the esophagus resulting in the dissolution of drug in esophagus which causes injury to esophagus, pain, and ulceration.

    Some sizes of the tablets are as followed:

    Mini- Sized Tablets

    Mini tablets are often releasing an immediate target response and their average size ranges from 2 to 5 mm. For instance, buccal tablets, which are smaller, rapidly disintegrate and round shape tablets.

    tablets sizes

    Standard/Conventional Sized Tablets

    Standard or conventional tablets size ranges >5 mm. These tablets are widely manufactured and prescribed by physicias due to consumer compliance, high accuracy and mode of action.

    For instance:

    • 500 mg paracetamol has size of 13 mm.

    Standard_Conventional Sized Tablets

    Caplets or coated oral medicine have larger size than round tablets. Some examples of caplet are

    • Acetaminophen tablets have size of 16 mm.
    • Amoxicillin 250 is about 18 mm.
    • Amoxicillin 500 is about 21mm.

    Conventional Sized Tablets

    Largest Sized Tablets

    Largest size tablets are unable to pass oropharyngeal tract, so they are not recommended to swallow rather they are meant to dissolve. For instance, effervescent tablets have the largest size around 1 inch or 25.4mm. These tablets are delicious with pleasing flavors. They are ideal for children, pregnant women and old individual with greater patient compliance.

    Largest Sized Tablets

    2.What are the different available shapes of the tablets?

    Tablets are available in many shapes. Shape of the tablets should be such that it can be easily swallowed. Different kinds to tablets enhance their appeal. Some common shapes are given below:

    • Round

    This is the standard shape of tablets. Most of tablets available in market have this shape. These tablets have break line in the middle and are easily broken into two halves. These tablets are difficult to swallow especially larger ones.

    Round Tablets

    • Oval

    These tablets are second most common type of tablets. The shape of these tablets is like an egg. Buccal or sublingual tablets are of oval shape and used to prevent vomiting.


    • Oblong

    These are the oval shape tablets with rectangular ends. Oblong tablets are also called caplets. These tablets go down the throat without any difficulty and are preferred by the patients for their ease of swallowability.


    • Square

    These tablets are square shaped with circular corners. These tablets are used for treatment of asthma attacks.


    • Rectangle

    These tablets are rectangular in shape and are used as sleeping aid.


    • Diamond

    These tablets are like two triangles that are joined together. These tablets are mostly used for treatment of reproductive functions.


    • Kidney

    These tablets are like kidney shape and are generally administer for treatment of high blood pressure and these are also chewable.


    • Heart

    These tablets are like small hearts used to cure heart diseases. They are also chewable.


    • Triangle

    These tablets are ingested for treating migraines and psychosis. Also, ecstasy drugs are triangular.


    • Pentagon or Shield

    These tablets have five sides and are taken for treatment of psychiatric diseases and stomach diseases.

    Pentagon or Shield

    • Core Rod

    These tablets have a hole inside them created by table tooling.

    core rod

    • Special shapes

    Special shapes are of diverse kind including fruits, animals as well as Flintstone. These are chewable tablets and gummies providing nutritional supplements like vitamins, calcium, and iron etc. They are uncoated tablets, available in various shapes such as round, oval, or unusual shapes and sizes like heart, bear, etc.These tablets must be first chewed to release active ingredients.

    These tablets are design for children and adults who have difficulty in swallowing tablets. These tablets are utilized to treat malnutrition.

    Special shapes

    • Layered Shaped

    Layered shaped are distinctive tablets formed by two or more layer of active ingredients. These tablets are designed to improve oral sustain releasing of drug. These layers are separated as they are chemically or physically incompatible. These tablets improve appearance and are also utilized for gradual release of drugs.

    layered shaped

    3.What factors determine the size of tablets?

    The size and shape of pills are determined by different factors such as

    • Amount of Drug
    • Tablet Tooling
    • Tablet Press

    Amount of Drug

    Drug dosage and weight are very significant in determining the size and shape of the tablets. Active excipients influence the weight of the drugs which in turns controls the size of the tablets.

    If a tablet has large weight, then it will have the bigger size.

    Amount of Drug

    Tablet Tooling

    Tablet tooling consists of two punches (upper and lower) and one die that affect the size of the tablets. Punch tip is changed to produce the tablets of different diameters.

    The sizes of pills influenced by punch tip; are usually about 3mm to 20 mm.

    Similarly, different punch profile can also impact the shape of tablets like round, oval, triangle, rhombus, etc.

    Tablet Tooling

    Tablet Press

    Tablet press usually comes in two main forms: a single punch and rotary press tablet machine.
    A single press tablet machine is for small batches of tablets and this machine usually manufactures tablets which are of small size.

    Rotary press tablet is to produce large tablets. These machines fabricate large sized and thick tablets.

    4.Why different tablet sizes and shapes are important?

    Tablet shapes and sizes attributes great impact on following factors:

    • Size

    Tablet sizes have pharmaceutically and therapeutically importance on patient compliance and acceptability. Difficulty in swallowing the tablet may cause variety of advser effects such as dysphagia. It is estimated as approximately 8% population skips their dose due to difficulty in swallowing.

    Smaller tablets has shown significantly greater transit time as compared to large size tablets.


    • Shape

    For any given size, shapes may also play important role in ease of swallowing. According to research report flat shaped tablets have shown high adherence to esophgeal tract than capsule shaped tablets. Moreover, it is also assessed that oval tablets are meant to administered more easily than round shaped tablet with same weight.



    Tablets are the most used form of medications. Diverse kinds of tablets having appealing shapes and sizes that play a major role in compliance of patients especially children for medications.

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