Effervescent tablets are a particular type of widespread tablet that once in contact with water triggers a reaction that causes the formation of a myriad of small bubbles. These tablets, in fact, unlike the others must necessarily be consumed dissolved in a glass of water. In addition to the various excipients, inside these tablets contain an acid (the most used are tartaric acid and citric acid) and a small amount of sodium bicarbonate: when they come into contact with water, the effervescent tablets they trigger a chemical salification reaction that leads to the formation of sodium or tartrate citrate and carbon dioxide which are manifested in the form of tiny bubbles. Obviously the effervescence has a specific purpose, that of causing the drug to become immediately soluble, but the active ingredient is the same as for normal tablets or powder sachets. The bubbles that we see, therefore, I know nothing but the gas caused by the unleashing of a chemical reaction which, exhausted, leaves a drink to be prepared containing the active ingredient of the drug. Almost every drug on the market is declined in different variants, all available in pharmacies: pills, effervescent tablets, drops or powder contained in sachets; the reasons why the doctor prefers to prescribe a format rather than another is not the diversity of the active ingredient, but factors related to the habits of the patient (those who are always in a hurry, for example, will have more ease in swallowing a pill rather than dosing the drops or wait for the effervescent tablet to dissolve), or for the therapeutic purpose pursued (the drops reveal more useful when it is necessary to scale the medicine or when the amount to be taken is minimal). The prices of the effervescent tablets they vary depending on the amount of tablets contained in each box, however they are not excessive and generally are around seven / eight euros for about twenty tablets.
How effervescent tablets are made
In the realization the difference between normal and effervescent tablets is minimal, even if with the latter it is necessary to pay more attention: first of all the components must be stored in a sheltered and dry place and used according to precise rules, because the slightest oversight can alter the effectiveness. The compression phase is particularly critical: it is especially at this time, in fact, that certain conditions must be met; the fundamental condition is that the humidity of the place where one works is stable and constantly under control. The tablets, then, are generally quite large (about twice the number of pills, sometimes even triple), so it is necessary that they possess the right hardness that allows them not to crumble.
How effervescent tablets work
The most important - and most visible - feature of effervescent tablets is to produce a great deal of carbon dioxide when they come into contact with water.
Co2 is released thanks to the chemical reaction between acid and water and so that the tablet dissolves entirely within a couple of minutes. In addition to the excipients found in practically all medicinal products - lactose, xylitol, dextrose and sorbitol -, these tablets also contain some excipients carefully selected from those water-soluble and capable of creating the sought-after bonds. Among these excipients usually the most used is citric acid, also chosen because it gives the drug a rather pleasant taste. Other acids used are adipic acid, tartaric acid and fumaric acid which, however, have the disadvantage of being not very soluble; like citric acid, malic acid also gives the drugs an excellent taste, however it is used much less than the former because it has a decidedly higher cost.
Advantages and disadvantages of effervescent tablets
Effervescent tablets are increasingly used by doctors and patients because they have many advantages over traditional pills: to begin with they have a taste susceptible to continuous improvements that can make them more appealing and easy to take especially for children; moreover, these tablets are much more suitable for those suffering from stomach problems: they are in fact more light and tolerable and have fewer side effects than classic pills. They do not irritate the stomach or cause unpleasant regurgitation. The way they are taken, dissolved in water, ensures that the active ingredient remains "dry" until it is actually used, that is when it reaches the stomach and starts its action. On the other hand, effervescent tablets do not only have advantages. First of all, they are much more fragile than classic pills, they must be handled and stored more carefully and sometimes they cost more. They are also less practical: a pill can in fact be swallowed in any place, even without water and taking no more than a few seconds; instead, the soluble tablet must be dissolved in drinking water, a glass and several minutes are needed, which given the hectic pace of today's life is not always possible. Finally, it is precisely the manufacturing process of these tablets that is much more laborious and complicated; in order to preserve them, special packs are needed to increase costs. Making therefore a rapt balance of the costs and the obtained benefits, we will be able without doubt to choose the form of medicine that does for us.