In medicine, a capsule is a type of dosage form that is designed to enclose a drug or medication in a small, gelatinous container. Capsules are typically composed of two halves that fit together tightly, with the medication enclosed within the capsule shell.
There are two main types of capsules: hard capsules and soft capsules. Hard capsules are made of two pieces that fit together tightly and are typically used to hold dry, powdered or granulated medication. Soft capsules are made of a single, flexible piece of gelatin that contains a liquid or semi-solid medication.
Capsules offer several advantages over other dosage forms, such as tablets or syrups. They are generally easier to swallow than tablets, especially for people who have difficulty swallowing or have a sensitive gag reflex. Capsules can also provide more precise dosing, since the amount of medication in each capsule is carefully measured and controlled.
In addition to their use as a dosage form for medications, capsules can also be used for other purposes in medicine. For example, some types of bacteria produce a protective capsule around themselves, which can make them more resistant to antibiotics and immune system responses. Capsules can also be used in diagnostic imaging tests, such as capsule endoscopy, where a small camera is enclosed within a capsule and swallowed by the patient to provide images of the digestive tract.