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Different Types of Dosage Forms in Pharmaceuticals

Know about the different types of dosages forms as liquid, solid and external, manufactured
in pharmaceuticals.
Ankur Choudhary | Pharmacology | Production Be the first to comment!

A drug is defined as a substance used for diagnosis, prevention and

treatment of disease. A dosage form of a drug is a product suited for
administration to the patient by various routes for diagnosis or treatment
of disease. Suitable dosage forms are needed for protection of the drug
from destructive influences of the atmospheric oxygen or moisture, for
protection of drug from destruction from gastric acid on oral
administration, to mask bitter taste and foul odour, to provide extended
drug action through controlled release mechanism etc. Following agents
are used with drug for suitable dosage form.

Vehicles: These are used to dissolve

or suspend drugs. They are also used to mask the bad taste of drug.
Colouring Agents: These are harmless substances used for lending colour
to drugs to make them more acceptable to patients.
Sweetening Agents: Solid sweetening agents as sucrose and cane sugar
are usually used for Syrups and Elixirs. Saccharin, about 500 times
sweeter than sugar, is non caloric and may be used by diabetics or obese
patients to restrict their carbohydrate intake. But there is suspicion that
saccharin is carcinogenic. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and
has been cleared as a safe sugar substitute. It is metabolized in body like
proteins but it loses its sweetness under heat, making it unsuitable for
sweetening baked confectionery.
Flavouring Agents: Flavour refers to a mixed sensation of taste, touch
,smell, sight and sound. The four primary tastes are sweet, sour, bitter
and saline. Proper selection of flavour has to be made to mask nauseating
medicines bitter sour, saline and oily tastes.

Liquid Dosage Forms:

Aqueous Solutions contain one or more drugs dissolved in water. There are 2 categories :
Solutions for oral use and solutions for injection which are sterile liquids or suspensions
packed in suitable containers. The aqueous vehicles mostly used for preparing injections are
water for injection and Sodium Chloride injection. Injections are available in sealed glass
ampoules or vials. Aqueous suspensions contain one or more chemical substances dispersed
in water by means of harmless suspending agents. These are preparations of fine and undissolved drugs dispersed in liquids. Suspensions for oral use are:
1. Emulsions: Suspension of fats or oils in water with aid of emulsifying agent. The oil
particles are coated with emulsifying agent so that they do not coalesce as the interfacial
tension between the oil and water is lowered. Thus a stable suspension is produced.
2. Gels are colloidal aqueous suspensions of hydrated inorganic substances.
3. Magmas are bulky suspensions of poorly soluble substances in water .They are also called
Milk s as they are white in colour. Magmas and Gels are similar except that the particles
suspended in Magma are larger. Thus Magmas tend to separate on standing and require a
shake well before use label.
4. Mixtures are preparations where drug or drugs are in solution or suspension meant for oral
Spirits or Essences are concentrated alcoholic solutions of volatile substances. Dissolved
substance may be solid, liquid or gaseous. Most spirits contain 5 20 % of the active
material. Spirits containing volatile oils are prepared by diluting 10 volumes of oil with 90
volumes of alcohol and colouring material may also be added. Many spirits are used as
flavouring agents. Extractive preparations are made from vegetable drugs and contain the
active principles in a hydroalcoholic solvent called menstrum. Tinctures are alcoholic or
hydroalcoholic preparations of vegetable drugs.
Related: Oral Liquid Dosage Forms

Solid Dosage Forms:

Some commonly used solid dosage forms are Powders. These are medicinal substances in a
dried and finely divided form. Powders are used internally and externally. Effervescent
powders when dissolved in water liberate carbon dioxide which makes the preparation more
palatable. Capsules are small containers usually made of gelatin. Capsules are one of the
most popular form s for oral administration of powder, oil and liquids. They dissolve readily
in the stomach and make the contents available for absorption. Capsules may be coated with
substances that resist the action of gastric juice and do not disintegrate in the stomach but on
reaching the intestines they dissolve in alkaline juices and release the drug. On occasions
capsules may be administered rectally or vaginally. Tablets are solid dosage forms containing
granulated or powdered drugs that are compressed or moulded into round or other shapes.
They may be made with or without diluents and may differ greatly in size, shape and weight.
Tablets usually contain in addition to the drug a diluent, a binder, a disintegrator and a
lubricant. Diluents are used when the amount of the active ingredient is small and the
lubricant keeps the tablet from sticking to the machine. Disintegrator like starch swells up the
tablet to split readily in the stomach, as starch swells up on contact with moisture. Tablets
may be coated to enhance their palatability. Pellets are sterile spheres formed by
compression. Pills are powdered drugs mixed with adhesive substances. Nowadays these

have been replaced by Tablets and Capsules. Troches or Lozenges are flat, round
preparations that are kept in mouth till they dissolve liberating the drug or drugs they contain.
Related: Tooling of Oral Solid Dosage Forms (Tablet)

Dosage Forms for External Administration

Liniments are liquid suspensions or dispersions, applied to skin by rubbing .They usually
contain an anodyne (to relieve pain) or rubifacient (to redden the skin). Lotions are liquid
preparations applied to skin without rubbing. Lotions can be protective, emollient, cooling,
cleansing, astringent or antipruritic depending upon their content. Ointments are semisolid
greasy substances intended for local application to the skin or mucous membranes.
Ophthalmic ointments are sterile medicated ointments for use in eye. Pastes are ointment like
preparations of one or more medicaments and some adhesive material. They are applied to
oozing surfaces and afford greater protection and more absorptive action than ointments.
Suppositories are mixtures of drugs with a firm base that can be moulded in shapes suitable
for insertion into a body cavity or orifice. Sprays are solution of one or more drugs in oil or
water, administered by atomizers. Inhalants are drugs which because of their high vapour
pressure can be carried into the nasal passages with the inhaled air.