What are excipients?

So you buy a box of supplements or you get prescribed some drugs by your doctor,  and you see all these long drug names listed on the label. What are…



So you buy a box of supplements or you get prescribed some drugs by your doctor,  and you see all these long drug names listed on the label.

What are these?

Well, obviously one of them is the active drug which you're supposed to be taking.

The rest are usually called "excipients".

Imagine if you make bread (yes i know it's easier to just buy it!).  Theoretically all you need is flour and water.

Those are your essential ingredients.

But most breads have yeast as a raising agent, oil, they also have an agent to add some color, an agent to add a particular flavor, ..etc.  These are not absolutely essential but they add to the quality and stability of the product.

These would be your "excipients".

It's exactly the same concept in drug design.  You need some excipients for the following reasons:

-Something to stop the tablets falling apart into powder

-Something to stop solutions clumping-up and caking at the bottom of the jar.

-Something to absorb moisture from the container to prevent medicine becoming destroyed

And so on.

But the most important excipient of all is probably a preservative.

These kill bugs which may grow in the medicine.

So excipients are usually there for a reason.

As a rule these excipients should be proven not to harm or irritate the human body in any way;

and they should never interfere in how the active ingredient works.

Does this always happen?

Perhaps not 100% of the time.  But we will look at this another time.

It's one of the features which i personally believe separates a good quality brand from a poor brand.

Till next time

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