Capsule Shell


Capsule shells serve as a crucial component of oral dosage forms, providing a convenient and patient-friendly means of delivering active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). They offer protection against environmental factors such as moisture, light, and oxidation, ensuring the stability and efficacy of the enclosed APIs. Additionally, capsule shells provide an effective barrier between the drug and the taste buds, masking any unpleasant flavors and enhancing patient acceptance.

Subtypes of Capsule Shells

Gelatin Capsule Shells

Gelatin capsule shells are the traditional choice widely used in the pharmaceutical industry. They are derived from animal sources, primarily bovine or porcine gelatin. Gelatin capsules offer excellent compatibility with a wide variety of APIs, ease of filling, and quick dissolution in the gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, gelatin is known for its biodegradability, making it an environmentally friendly option.

Vegetarian Capsule Shells

Vegetarian or plant-based capsule shells have gained popularity due to increased demand for alternative options that cater to specific dietary preferences, cultural/religious requirements, or vegetarian/vegan lifestyles. These capsule shells are typically made from cellulose, a derivative of plant materials, and are suitable for use with both dry and liquid formulations. For example, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) capsule shells, also known as vegetarian capsules, are made from plant-based materials. They are a popular choice for vegetarian and vegan formulations. HPMC capsule shells are compatible with a wide range of APIs, provide moisture resistance, and offer excellent mechanical and barrier properties.

Enteric Capsule Shells

Enteric capsule shells are designed with a special coating that allows them to withstand the acidic environment of the stomach and gradually release the drug in the intestines. This type of capsule shell is commonly used for drugs that are sensitive to stomach acid or require targeted delivery to the lower gastrointestinal tract. For example, hypromellose acetate succinate (HPMCAS), ensure targeted drug delivery by protecting the encapsulated drug from stomach acid. These capsule shells exhibit pH-dependent solubility, allowing for controlled release in the intestinal environment.

Key Considerations for Selecting Capsule Shells

The capsule shell is closely related to the appearance of the capsule preparation, disintegration and dissolution, stability and other quality indicators. At the same time the composition and nature of the capsule filling materials also affect the stability of the capsule formulation and the capsule shell. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right capsule shell material.

Compatibility: Ensure that the selected capsule shell is compatible with the API, considering factors such as chemical interactions, moisture sensitivity, and stability requirements.

Manufacturing and Filling Efficiency: Evaluate the ease of encapsulation, compatibility with filling equipment, and sealing efficiency to ensure a smooth manufacturing process.

Patient Acceptance: Consider factors such as capsule size, shape, and ease of swallowing to enhance patient compliance and acceptance.


Capsule shells play a crucial role in ensuring the integrity, stability, and controlled release of pharmaceutical formulations. With the right selection of capsule shell, pharmaceutical formulations can be safeguarded against the environment, ensuring the delivery of safe and effective medications to patients. Partnering with Protheragen-ING, a reputable supplier, ensures the availability of high-quality excipients and supports the development of stable and efficacious pharmaceutical products. If you have any excipient requirements, please contact us by phone or email, and we will respond within 2-4 working days.



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