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At a drug store, there are shelves upon shelves of different medicines to choose from. Over the years we have developed many forms of these medications, so whether we are looking for cold medicine or a pain killer, we are faced with a decision: Should I get the gel capsules or the tablets? Which one is better? The gel capsules are often made with gelatin, where the liquid medicine is inside whereas tablets are a compacted powder form of the drug. In terms of drug effectiveness, one is not better than the other. It is only a matter of personal preference.

For fast relief, it is a matter of solubility–how fast the drug can be absorbed into your body once consumed. Gel capsules are ideal for those who want fast relief as the “ready solubility of gelatin at gastric pH provides rapid release of medication in the stomach“. After the capsule is dissolved, the liquid is released and easily absorbed into the body, as opposed to a solid tablet that has to be entirely dissolved. The downside to gel capsules is that they are not suited to hold certain substances that would dissolve gelatin, limiting what can or cannot be dispensed in this form.

 Even though they look different, they both help patients!

Source: Rafe Swan

Although tablets do not provide relief as quickly as gel capsules do, they are ideal for those who are not able to swallow large pills. Tablets can be crushed into smaller pieces and consumed, whereas gel capsules cannot be broken. Keep in mind that some tablets are not meant to be broken apart so ask your doctor for advice. Tablets are also a lot cheaper due to the fact that producers are able to pack a lot of the material in a small amount of space. They also have a longer shelf-life as they are able to hold their potency longer than gel capsules do.

It is all a matter of personal preference as some people prefer the gel capsules, and others prefer the tablets. There are many options to choose from when it comes to medication and these options are all open to you, the consumer, in order to satisfy your needs.

Feature Image Source: Hideya Hamano

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