International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 1290–1298 | Cite as

Perceptions, preferences and acceptability of patient designed 3D printed medicine by polypharmacy patients: a pilot study

  • Mark Møller Fastø
  • Natalja Genina
  • Susanne Kaae
  • Sofia Kälvemark SporrongEmail author
Research Article


Background 3D-printing, compared to conventional medicine manufacturing technologies, is a versatile and highly modifiable technique that has the flexibility to produce medicine that meet patients’ specific requirements such as individualized dosing, but also to customize the appearance of the dosage form, e.g., shape and colour. Objective To explore polypharmacy patients’ perceptions and preferences regarding 3D-printed medicine, including their acceptability of patient-designed medicine. Setting The study was conducted in Zealand, Denmark. Method Polypharmacy patients were recruited using convenience sampling (mostly on Facebook) and interviewed twice using semi-structured interviews. Interviews were analysed thematically into five predetermined themes (shapes, colours, embossing designs, polypills, and patient-designed dosage forms). At the first interview patients were asked about their perceptions and preferences towards 3D-printed solid dosage forms, and were presented to different shapes, colours, embossing designs and examples of polypills. They were also invited to design their own medicine from the ones presented. Their self-designed medicines were presented at the second interview, where acceptability of both their self-designed medicine and the concept of designing one’s own medicine, was investigated. Main outcome measure Patients’ perceptions, preferences towards and acceptability of 3D-printed medicines. Results Eight patients were included. They tended to prefer shapes similar to conventional medicine. Different colours were preferred by different people. The presented embossing designs seemed to be irrelevant. Polypills were generally believed to be a good idea due to the reduction of number of medicines. Acceptability of patient-designed medicine was mainly determined by whether patients thought 3Dprinting technology was reliable or not. Conclusions The patients had various perceptions and preferences of 3D-printed medicine. Factors affecting the patient views were aesthetic (appealing), physiological (swallowing), practical (handling), pedagogical (understanding) and psychological (relate to). Trust in the technology seemed to be important for acceptability.


3D printing Denmark Patient-designed medicine Patient acceptability Personalized medicine Semi-structured interviews Pharmaceutical technology 



This work was supported by The Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF), Technology and Production Sciences (FTP), Grant No. 12-126515/0602-02670B.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PharmacyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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