Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pharmaceutical Finished Formulations- An Overview

Pharmacy deals with all the aspects of turning chemicals into medications that can be safely used by patients. Raw chemicals, although having medicinal properties are of no use to a patient. Thus, the chemical substances are combined to produce a final medicinal product. This process of combining different chemical substances along with the active drug is called pharmaceutical formulation. The final medicinal products are known as pharmaceutical finished formulations. Pharmaceutical finished formulations, simply called drugs or medicines, are prepared in many forms.

Oral Formulations

They are the drugs that are consumed by patients and can be in the form of tablets or capsules.

Tablets: Tablets are made by mixing active substances with excipients. An excipient is an inactive substance which is used as a carrier for the active ingredients of a medication. The mixture is normally in powder form which is pressed or compacted to give solid composition to the tablets. The excipients include binders, glidants (flow aids) and lubricants to ensure effective tableting.

Capsules: When medicines are enclosed in a stable shell, they are known as a capsules. They can be hard-shelled capsules, which are generally used for dry, powdered ingredients, or they can be soft-shelled capsules, which are used for oils and other active ingredients that are dissolved or suspended in oil.

Topical Formulations

These medicines are applied externally to a particular part of the body. They can be in the form of cream, gel, ointment or powder.

Creams: Creams are semi-solid liquid preparation, which are mixtures of oil and water. They can be of two types - oil-in-water (O/W) creams and water-in-oil (W/O) creams. Although Oil-in-water creams are more comfortable and acceptable, most of the drugs are Water-in-oil creams as they can be released more readily in such a form.

Ointments: Ointments are viscous semisolid preparation used locally on many body surfaces. They can be applied on skin and mucus membranes of the eye, vagina, anus, and nose.

Gels: Gels are solid, jelly-like material which can have properties that range from soft and weak to hard and tough. They are also locally applied on various parts of body.

Powders: Powders are also one of the pharmaceutical finished formulations that are applied either internally or externally. They consist of one or many crushed substances.


Injections, sometimes also called “shots” are medicinal liquids that are infused into the patient's body with the help of a hollow needle and a syringe. Injections are administered through parenteral route, which means that they are administered other than through the digestive tract.

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