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Polyethylene Glycol 400

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is Polyethylene Glycol 400?

Polyethylene glycol, referred to as PEG, is used as an inactive ingredient in the pharmaceutical industry as a solvent, plasticizer, surfactant, ointment and suppository base, and tablet and capsule lubricant. PEG has low toxicity with absorption into the body less than 0.5%.

PEGylation occurs when PEGs are attached to various protein medications, allowing for greater solubility for certain drugs. Examples of PEGylated medications include PEG-interferon alpha (Pegintron) and PEG-filgrastim (Neulasta). PEG is also available as a bowel prep for colonoscopy procedures and as a laxative.[1]

PEG "400" indicates that the average molecular weight of the specific PEG is 400.[2] PEG 3350 is a laxative available over-the-counter by the name of Miralax. In this case, PEG is considered an "active" ingredient, even though systemic absorption is less than 0.5%.[2]

[1] Dave RH. Overview of pharmaceutical excipients used in tablets and capsules. Drug Topics (online). Advanstar. 10/24/2008 http://drugtopics.modernmedicine.com/drugtopics/Top+News/Overview-of-pharmaceutical-excipients-used-in-tabl/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/561047. Accessed 08/19/2011

[2] ThermoScientific. PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) Reagents http://www.piercenet.com/products/browse.cfm?fldID=12D97D8D-5056-8A76-4E95-9EA0D0B54BDB Accessed 08/19/2011

Top Medications Containing Polyethylene Glycol 400

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