Capsules vs. Tablets: What's the Difference?

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Key Difference

The difference between capsule and tablet is that capsule is the medicine that is cylindrical and consist of jelly or powder whereas a tablet is a medicine that is flat and is compressed powder in solid form.

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Capsules vs. Tablets

People use capsule and tablets as medicine they are oral pharmaceutical dosage, but there is a difference between a capsule and tablets. They are different in appearance, method and usages. Capsules are soft because they usually have gel-like substance and can also have powdered material while tablets are stable and in compressed powder form. Tablets are made by moulding and compression whereas blow moulding and soft shelling prepare capsules. Tablets were made before capsules; there was the need to capsules for a patient who can’t swallow tablets. Tablets can be cut into pieces whereas capsules cannot be cut into pieces because they have gel-like substance in them. Capsule is like a gelatin container having powder. Tablets do not enter the bloodstream because tablets are mostly coated with sugar, on the other hand, there is no sugar coated on the capsule, so they enter the bloodstream immediately. Capsules are more expensive than tablets, the shelf life of a tablet is more than a capsule because tablets are manufactured by compressing the material with force. Tablets vary in sizes and shapes, but tablets are hard to swallow.  As compared to tablets, capsules can be easily swallowed. The manufacturing of capsules is more expensive than the production of tablets. Capsule do not stay for the very long time. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of tablets and capsules for the better understanding of the difference between tablets and capsules.

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Advantages of Capsules

  • Easier to swallow
  • It provides more protection
  • It can be open and use
  • No gastrointestinal irritation
  • More than one ingredients can be combined
  • There is an option of gelatin and vegetarian enclosure
  • Fat soluble
  • Immediately works in blood

Disadvantages of Capsules

  • There are be a large capsule that cannot be easy to swallow
  • You can only have limited ingredient in a capsule
  • Maintain size of capsule
  • More costly
  • Restricted to tight pH range

Advantages of Tablets

  • Look Elegant
  • Perfect size and shape
  • Dose splitting is possible
  • Cheap than capsule
  • There can be chewable tablets

Disadvantages of Tablets

  • Poor Disintegration in GI tract
  • Granulation technique is difficult
  • Sensitive to coatings

Comparison Chart

Basis Capsule Tablets
Meaning The capsule is the medicine that is cylindrical and consist of jelly or powderTablet is a medicine that is flat and is compressed powder in solid form.
Appearance  Soft-shelledHard, solid
Process Blow moulding processCompression process
Contain Gel, powderSolid powder
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 What are Capsules?

The capsule is the medicine that is cylindrical and consist of jelly or powder. Capsules were made for patient who can’t swallow hard tablets. The ingredient is put in capsule mostly in the form of jell or powder. All the component are sealed under the capsule. Vitamin or any other supplement are enclosed in a two-piece capsule. The capsule is also known as caplets that are much for more comfortable to swallow. The significant benefit of having capsule in place of the tablet is that the capsule easily break down in the stomach.  There are two types of capsule that is a soft capsule and hard capsule

Soft Capsule

Fish oils are the example of a soft capsule. In the centre of the capsule, solvent is combined with solvent. Following are two main advantages of the soft capsule

  • Soft capsule have a quicker effect
  • Soft capsule absorb more effectively

Hard Capsule

The hard capsule has a hard shell; two pieces are filled with drug and are fit together. Hard capsule is used when drugs are easily dissolvable in the stomach.

What are Tablets?

Tablet is a medicine that is flat and is compressed powder in solid form. Tablets are available in different shapes and sizes. Tablets are often hard to swallow, but they can crush the tablet and eat with food or any drink on the other hand capsules are not that easy to open and use with food. There is a method by which tablets are made with perfect size, shape and colour for any person, and that method is known as customisation. Tablets are way cheaper than capsules, other than being cheaper tablets have many more advantages. Tablets have a long shelf life that means you can keep tablets for a very long time. The most common tablets are either circular or disk-shaped. We mostly see a scored line in the middle of a tablet that makes easier to break in two pieces. Tablets also have fillers to give tablet size; tablets also have a binder that can hold the tablet together. Sometimes there is a need to provide half tablet as per dose so the best thing about the tablet is that you can cut the tablet into two pieces whereas you cannot cut capsule.  There are many types of tablets

Types of Tablets

Tablets are mostly coated or uncoated. Some tablets are coated because the ingredients need to be protected from many factors like air, light etc. Following are the types of tablets

  • Chewable Tablet

These tablets are for people who find difficult to swallow tablet. Example of chewable tablets is antacid and vitamin tablets.

  • Effervescent Tablet

The effervescent tablet contains acid and hydrogen carbonate. Effervescent tablets have sodium bicarbonate, citric acid and tartaric acid and other chemicals.

  • Lozenge Tablet

Lozenge tablet is for throat infections; there is no disintegrating agent in lozenge tablet. There are sweetening sugar, artificial colours and flavours in this tablet.

  • Soluble Tablet

The soluble tablet dissolves entirely in water. Mouthwash, skin lotion, antibiotic, aspirin are the examples of dispersible tablets.

  • Sublingual Tablet

Sublingual table destroyed within the gastrointestinal tract; this tablet is put below the tongue as the drug releases slowly. Nitroglycerin is the example of sublingual tablets.

Example of Tablets

  • Generic Zocor
  • Lisinopril
  • Generic Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium)
  • synthetic thyroid hormone
  • Generic Norvasc
  • Generic Prilosec
  • Azithromycin
  • Amoxicillin
  • Generic Glucophage
  • Hydrochlorothiazide

Key Difference

  1. The capsule is the medicine that is cylindrical and consists of jelly or powder whereas Tablet is a medicine that is flat and is compressed powder in solid form.
  2. The capsule cannot be cut into pieces whereas tablets can be split into parts.
  3. The capsule is made by blow moulding process whereas tablets are prepared by the compression process
  4. Pill have short shelf time whereas tablets have long shelf time.

Conclusion

People use the term capsule and tablets for medicine, but there is a difference between a capsule and a tablet. This article has explained the clear distinction between a capsule and a tablet.

Explanatory Video

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