Preservatives used in pharmaceuticals

Preservatives are substances used to prevent the growth of microorganisms and increase the product’s shelf life and stability. These preservatives are used in various pharmaceutical and food products.

Types of preservatives

It is divided into 2 categories,

  1. Based on the mechanism of action
  2. Based on the source.

1. Based on the Mechanism of Action

(a) Anti-oxidants: The agent which prevents the oxidation

Eg Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Butylated hydroxyl anisole (BHA) Butylated hydroxyl toluene (BHT)

(b) Anti-microbial Agents: The agent, which active against Gram +ve, Gram -ve bacteria.

Eg: Benzoates, Sodium benzoates, Sorbates.

(c) Chelating Agent: The agent forms the complex with pharmaceutical ingredients and prevents product degradation.

Eg: EDTA, Citric acid, and Polyphosphates.

2. Based on the Source

a) Natural preservatives: These are available from natural sources like plants, animals, and minerals, etc.

Eg: Neem oil, Lemon, Honey, Salt, etc.

(b) Artificial Preservatives: These are available from chemical synthesis.

Eg: Benzoates, Sodium benzoates, Sorbates, Nitrites.

Uses of preservatives

1. Commonly used pharmaceutical industries for formulation it like acetaminophen, insulin, cough syrup etc.

2. Used in food industries.

Also read: What are coloring agents used in pharmaceutical formulations?

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