A List of Common Excipients Used in Pharmaceutical Products 
(Tablets, Capsules, Suspensions, Syrup and Cream)

List of Pharmaceutical Excipients and Their Uses

  • Acacia: Emulsifying agent (10-20%); stabilizing agent; suspending agent (5-10%); tablet binder (1-5%); viscosity-increasing agent.
  • Acesulfame Potassium: Sweetening agent.
  • Acetic Acid, Glacial: Acidifying agent.
  • Acetone: Solvent.
  • Acetyltributyl Citrate: Plasticizer.
  • Acetyltriethyl Citrate: Plasticizer.
  • Adipic Acid: Acidifying agent; buffering agent; flavoring agent.
  • Agar: Emulsifying agent; stabilizing agent; suppository base; suspending agent; sustained-release agent; tablet binder; thickening agent; viscosity-increasing agent.
  • Albumin: Stabilizing agent; therapeutic agent.
  • Alcohol:  Antimicrobial preservative; disinfectant; skin penetrant; solvent.
  • Alginic Acid: Release-modifying agent; stabilizing agent; suspending agent; sustained release agent; tablet binder; tablet disintegrant; tastemasking agent; viscosity-increasing agent.
  • Aliphatic Polyesters: Bioabsorbable material; biocompatible material; biodegradable material.
  • Alitame: Sweetening agent.
  • Almond Oil:  Emollient; oleaginous vehicle; solvent.
  • Alpha Tocopherol: Antioxidant; therapeutic agent.
  • Aluminum Hydroxide Adjuvant: Adsorbent; vaccine adjuvant.
  • Aluminum Monostearate: Emollient; emulsion stabilizer; gelling agent; opacifier; stabilizing agent.
  • Aluminum Oxide: Adsorbent; dispersing agent.
  • Aluminum Phosphate Adjuvant: Adsorbent; vaccine adjuvant.
  • Ammonia Solution:  Alkalizing agent.
  • Ammonium Alginate: Diluent; emulsifying agent; film-forming agent; humectant; stabilizing agent; thickening agent.
  • Ammonium Chloride: Acidifying agent; therapeutic agent.
  • Ascorbic Acid: Antioxidant; therapeutic agent.
  • Ascorbyl Palmitate: Antioxidant.
  • Aspartame: Sweetening agent.
  • Attapulgite: Adsorbent.
  • Bentonite: Adsorbent; stabilizing agent; suspending agent; viscosity increasing agent.
  • Benzalkonium Chloride: Antimicrobial preservative; antiseptic; disinfectant; solubilizing agent; wetting agent.
  • Benzethonium Chloride: Antimicrobial preservative; antiseptic; disinfectant.
  • Benzoic Acid: Antimicrobial preservative; therapeutic agent.
  • Benzyl Alcohol: Antimicrobial preservative; disinfectant; solvent.
  • Benzyl Benzoate: Antimicrobial preservative.
  • Boric Acid: Antimicrobial preservative; buffering agent.
  • Bronopol: Antimicrobial preservative; antiseptic.
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole: Antioxidant.
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene: Antioxidant.
  • Butylene Glycol: Antimicrobial preservative; humectant; solvent; water-miscible cosolvent.
  • Butylparaben: Antimicrobial preservative.
  • Calcium Acetate: Antimicrobial preservative; sequestering agent; therapeutic agent.
  • Calcium Alginate: Emulsifying agent; stabilizing agent; tablet disintegrant; thickening agent.
  • Calcium Carbonate: Buffering agent; coating agent; colorant; opacifier; tablet binder; tablet and capsule diluent; therapeutic agent.
  • Calcium Chloride: Antimicrobial preservative; therapeutic agent; water-absorbing agent.
  • Calcium Hydroxide: Alkalizing agent; astringent; therapeutic agent.
  • Calcium Lactate: Antimicrobial preservative; buffering agent; crosslinking agent; tablet and capsule diluent; tablet binder; tablet filler; therapeutic agent; thickening agent.
  • Calcium Phosphate, Dibasic Anhydrous: Practically insoluble in ether, ethanol, and water; soluble in dilute acids.
  • Calcium Phosphate, Dibasic Dihydrate: Practically insoluble in ethanol, ether, and water; soluble in dilute acids.
  • Calcium Phosphate, Tribasic: Anticaking agent; buffering agent; dietary supplement; glidant; tablet and capsule diluent.
  • Calcium Silicate: Adsorbent; anticaking agent; opacifier; tablet filler.
  • Calcium Stearate: Tablet and capsule lubricant.
  • Calcium Sulfate: Desiccant; tablet and capsule diluent.
  • Canola Oil: Emollient; lubricant; oleaginous vehicle.
  • Carbomer: Bioadhesive material; controlled-release agent; emulsifying agent; emulsion stabilizer; rheology modifier; stabilizing agent.
  • Carbon Dioxide: Aerosol propellant; air displacement.
  • Carboxymethylcellulose Calcium: Emulsifying agent; coating agent; stabilizing agent; suspending agent; tablet and capsule disintegrant; viscosity-increasing agent; water-absorbing agent.
  • Carboxymethylcellulose Sodium: Coating agent; stabilizing agent; suspending agent; tablet and capsule disintegrant; tablet binder; viscosity-increasing agent; water-absorbing agent.
  • Carrageenan: Emulsifying agent; gel base; stabilizing agent; suspending agent; sustained-release agent; viscosity-increasing agent.
  • Castor Oil: Emollient; oleaginous vehicle; solvent.
  • Castor Oil, Hydrogenated: In topical formulations, hydrogenated castor oil is used to provide stiffness to creams and emulsions. In oral formulations, hydrogenated castor oil is used to prepare sustained-release tablet and capsule preparations; the hydrogenated castor oil may be used as a coat or to form a solid matrix.
  • Cellulose, Microcrystalline: Adsorbent; suspending agent; tablet and capsule diluent; tablet disintegrate.
  • Cellulose, Microcrystalline and Carboxymethylcellulose Sodium: Microcrystalline cellulose and carboxymethylcellulose sodium is used to produce thixotropic gels suitable as suspending vehicles in pharmaceutical and cosmetic formulations. The sodium carboxymethylcellulose aids dispersion and serves as a protective colloid.
  • Cellulose, Powdered: Adsorbent; glidant; suspending agent; tablet and capsule diluent; tablet disintegrant; thickening agent.
  • Cellulose, Silicified Microcrystalline: Tablet and capsule diluent.  It has improved compaction properties in both wet granulation and direct compression compared to conventional microcrystalline cellulose.
  • Cellulose Acetate:  Coating agent; extended-release agent; tablet and capsule diluent.
  • Cellulose Acetate Phthalate: Coating agent.
  • Ceratonia: Controlled-release agent; stabilizing agent; suspending agent; tablet binder; viscosity-increasing agent.
  • Ceresin: Coating agent; opacifier; stabilizing agent; stiffening agent.
  • Cetostearyl Alcohol: Emollient; emulsifying agent; viscosity-increasing agent.
  • Cetrimide: Antimicrobial preservative; antiseptic; cationic surfactant; disinfectant.
  • Cetyl Alcohol: Coating agent; emulsifying agent; stiffening agent.
  • Cetylpyridinium Chloride: Antimicrobial preservative; antiseptic; cationic surfactant; disinfectant; solubilizing agent; wetting agent.
  • Chitosan: Coating agent; disintegrant; film-forming agent; mucoadhesive; tablet binder; viscosity increasing agent.
  • Chlorhexidine: Antimicrobial preservative; antiseptic.
  • Chlorobutanol: Antimicrobial preservative; plasticizer.
  • Chlorocresol: Antimicrobial preservative; disinfectant.
  • Chlorodifluoroethane (HCFC):  Aerosol propellant.
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC): Aerosol propellant.
  • Chloroxylenol: Antimicrobial preservative; antiseptic; disinfectant.
  • Cholesterol: Emollient; emulsifying agent.
  • Citric Acid Monohydrate: Acidifying agent; antioxidant; buffering agent; chelating agent; flavor enhancer; preservative.
  • Coconut Oil: Emollient; ointment base.
  • Colloidal Silicon Dioxide: Adsorbent; anticaking agent; emulsion stabilizer; glidant; suspending agent; tablet disintegrant; thermal stabilizer; viscosity-increasing agent.
  • Coloring Agents: Colorant; opacifier.
  • Copovidone: Film-forming agent; granulation aid; tablet binder.
  • Corn Oil: Oleaginous vehicle; solvent.
  • Corn Starch and Pregelatinized Starch: Binding agent; compression aid; disintegrant; tablet and capsule diluent; tablet and capsule filler.
  • Cottonseed Oil: Oleaginous vehicle; solvent.
  • Cresol: Antimicrobial preservative; disinfectant.
  • Croscarmellose Sodium: Tablet and capsule disintegrant.
  • Crospovidone: Tablet disintegrant.
  • Cyclodextrins: Solubilizing agent; stabilizing agent.
  • Cyclomethicone: Solubilizing agent; stabilizing agent.
  • Denatonium Benzoate: Alcohol denaturant; flavoring agent.
  • Dextrates: Tablet binder; tablet and capsule diluent.
  • Dextrin: Stiffening agent; suspending agent; tablet binder; tablet and capsule diluent.
  • Dextrose: Tablet and capsule diluent; therapeutic agent; tonicity agent; sweetening agent.
  • Dibutyl Phthalate: Film-forming agent; plasticizer; solvent.
  • Dibutyl Sebacate: Plasticizer
  • Diethanolamine: Alkalizing agent; emulsifying agent.
  • Diethyl Phthalate: Film-forming agent; plasticizer; solvent.
  • Difluoroethane (HFC): Aerosol propellant.
  • Dimethicone: Antifoaming agent; emollient; water-repelling agent.
  • Dimethyl Ether: Aerosol propellant.
  • Dimethyl Phthalate: Film-forming agent; plasticizer; solvent.
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide: Penetration agent; solvent.
  • Dimethylacetamide: Solvent.
  • Disodium Edetate: Chelating agent.
  • Docusate Sodium: Anionic surfactant; fecal softener; wetting agent.


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