Taste masking technologies

Taste is an important factor to get right when designing oral formulations for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products. This is especially true when developing user-friendly dosage forms, which spend longer in the mouth and are savored more intensely. Effective taste masking can often be achieved using flavoring excipients and sweeteners. However, when working with very bitter and highly water-soluble components, these strategies alone may be insufficient. 

At HERMES PHARMA, we use coating technologies to prevent the intense flavor of poor-tasting components coming through in the mouth. Such taste-masking strategies include coating API particles with a physical barrier composed of lipid excipients.

One of the fastest and most economical coating technologies we employ is hot melt coating (HMC), which is particularly well suited for masking the bitter, sour, sulfuric, astringent or salty taste of APIs/nutrients in orally disintegrating granules (ODGs). When used in combination with sugars, sweeteners, and flavoring excipients, HMC can be a very effective strategy for improving the taste of products containing poor-tasting APIs.

Key benefits of hot melt coating

  • A rapid process as it does not require the use of solvents
  • Easy to scale up from laboratory to commercial production
  • Low energy consumption during production, making it a sustainable and ecofriendly technology
  • Ensures a consistent product as the absence of curing and sintering effects eliminates side processes, such as agglomeration
  • Can be used to modify the release profile of active ingredients for extended and immediate-release formulations

How hot melt coating works

HMC was originally developed for food manufacturing. It works by coating API particles with a lipid excipient layer. The seed API particles are suspended in a fluid bed coater, while the excipients are heated outside of the fluid bed until they are molten. The molten mix is then transported via a heated tubing system and sprayed onto the seed particles using a heated nozzle. As the API particles are kept at a lower temperature than the melting point of the excipient mix, the molten droplets wet the API particles and solidify upon contact, forming a homogeneous coating layer.

Once this process is complete, the newly coated particles can be further processed – blended with other APIs, excipients or flavors, for example – to create the final formulation.