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What Is The Difference Between A Tablet And A Capsule?

Medicine can be administered in various types of pharmaceutical dosage forms. They can be in the oral form or in the form of intravenous medication. Oral medication also comes in several forms, such as, solid form and liquid medication form. Solid medications are swallowed either in the form of a tablet or in the form of a capsule.

What Is The Difference Between A Tablet And A Capsule?

What Is The Difference Between A Tablet And A Capsule?

Basic Differences Between a Tablet and a Capsule:

A tablet is an oral pharmaceutical dosage form that is usually prepared by molding or compression to create a solid dose. About 2/3rd of all prescriptions are in solid dosage forms and about half of these solid forms are tablets. Though these are mostly taken as an oral medication, they can also be sublingually, rectally or intravaginally administered. Tablets have different coatings and markings on them, that makes them easily recognizable and distinguish them from other tablets.

A capsule is a shell or a container that is used to encapsulate medicines. These capsules are taken orally by the patients. These capsule medicines can either be soft-shelled or hard-shelled. Capsules are made from animal protein or other gelling agents. Plasticizers are added to them to reduce the hardness of capsules and coloring agents are added to change their color. Soft shelled capsules are used for oils or active ingredients that are suspended in oil. However, the hard-shelled capsules are made of gelatin and contain dry, powdered ingredients inside the,.

Differences Based On Their Appearnace:

As mentioned above, tablets are always in compressed powder form, while capsules can be soft-shelled or gel substances or hard-shelled(in case of powdered substances).

Differences Based On The Production Process:

Based on the production process, there are some differences between a tablet and a capsule. Tablets are prepared by molding or compression. However, medicine is transferred into the capsules either by blow molding( for soft-shelled capsules) or by transferring and pressing together the hard-shelled capsules.

Differences Based On Methods Of Administration:

We also mentioned this that tablets can be administered orally, sublingually, rectally or even intravaginally. However, capsules are taken only orally.

Differences Based On Their History:

Tablets were used as early as 1500 in ancient Egypt. However, capsules were first patented in 1834 by Mothes and Dublanc. This discovery of capsules, was because patients found it difficult in swallowing tablets.

Differences Between a Tablet and a Capsule Based On Their Advantages:

The advantages of tablets, is that they are accepted widely, they have custom size, shape and appearance, usually have lower cost, dissolution control for quick, delayed or extended release and also there are chewable tablets that can be consumed by multiple demographics.

There are also advantages of capsules; and they include, unique mixes of ingredients possible, there is protection for sensitive ingredients, the sealed hard gelatin capsules can be good oxygen barriers, there are chances of reduced gastrointestinal irritation with capsules, and they are odorless, tasteless and are easy to swallow.

Differences Based On Their Disadvantages:

There are some disadvantages of tablets. These include, potentially poor disintegration in the gastrointestinal tract, potentially sensitive to coatings, difficult to swallow. Some of the disadvantages of capsules include, they can be more costly, the ingredients inside can interact with the shell of the capsule, bulky materials can result in large sized capsule, and softgel contents are restricted to a tight pH range.


So, these were some of the differences between a tablet and a capsule. It is essential for you to consult with your doctor, in case of any sickness and take the prescribed medications as per the doctor’s advice. If you find it difficult to swallow tablets, you can ask for the better options for your medications to yoru doctor.


  1. Solid Dosage Forms: Tablets and Capsules – Pharmapproach.com (Link: https://www.pharmapproach.com/solid-dosage-forms-tablets-and-capsules/)
  2. Difference Between Tablets and Capsules – Pharmapproach.com (Link: https://www.pharmapproach.com/difference-between-tablets-and-capsules/)

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 18, 2023

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