What Does ‘Delayed Release Capsule’ Really Mean?


Capsules not only come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they can be hard or soft and even come in a modified release form. A Delayed Release Capsule is a type of modified release (1), but what does this actually mean? How delayed is the release and why is the release modified in the first place?

Most modified release capsules are designed to deliver the drug to circulating blood over an extended period, so less capsules need to be taken in a day. These generally come in either Delayed Release or Extended Release forms. Extended Release can also have a Repeat-Action. All types of Modified Release Drugs ensure that the drug is released where it is best absorbed by your body. This simplifies the dosing and ensures that the correct concentration is maintained for an appropriate time.

Delayed Release Capsules can be made in either hard or soft forms (2). They are made so that either the shell of the contents are not damaged or inactivated (3) by gastric fluids (such as stomach acid). Delayed Release Capsules are also used when the drug may irritate the gastric mucosa. The release of the active ingredient is then triggered by intestinal fluids. This is normally accomplished by the Capsule being Enteric Coated.

Delayed Response Capsules are able to pass through the stomach unharmed and the active ingredient is released in the small intestine. This form of Capsule is used to ensure the correct concentration of the drug for an appropriate time. This means that less Capsules need to be taken, simplifying dosing.