Inactive Ingredients

Inactive ingredients, also known as excipients, are the components of a drug product other than the active ingredient. They are included in medication for a reason, even though they don't have a direct effect on your body. They might be fillers, flavorings, coatings or preservatives.

Here are some of the functions of inactive ingredients:

  • Stabilize the medication: Inactive ingredients can help to keep the active ingredient stable and prevent it from breaking down too quickly.
  • Improve the absorption of the active ingredient: Inactive ingredients can help the active ingredient to be absorbed into the body more easily.
  • Make the medication more palatable: Inactive ingredients can be used to flavor or sweeten medications, making them more palatable for patients.
  • Protect the medication from moisture or light: Inactive ingredients can be used to protect medications from moisture or light, which can degrade the active ingredient.
  • Make the medication easier to take: Inactive ingredients can be used to make medications easier to swallow, such as by coating them with a sugar shell or by making them into a liquid or chewable tablet.

In general, inactive ingredients are safe and well-tolerated by most people. However, there are some people who may be allergic to certain inactive ingredients. If you have any concerns about the inactive ingredients in a medication, talk to your doctor.

Here are some examples of inactive ingredients:

  • Fillers: These are inert substances that are used to bulk up a medication and make it easier to handle. Examples of fillers include lactose, starch, and cellulose.
  • Coloring agents: These are used to make medications more attractive and easier to identify. Examples of coloring agents include FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Red #40, and FD&C Yellow #5.
  • Flavorings: These are used to make medications taste better. Examples of flavorings include sugar, artificial sweeteners, and natural flavors.
  • Preservatives: These are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold in medications. Examples of preservatives include benzoic acid, propylparaben, and methylparaben.

Inactive Ingredients A-Z