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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 10, 2023.

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Carrageenan is a gelatinous polysaccharide that is prepared by aqueous extraction from specific red seaweeds (marine algae). Traditionally, carrageenan has been produced by extracting the carrageenan (from one of eight red seaweeds listed in the regulation) and filtering the extract to remove cellulose and other substances, according to the FDA. Carrageenan has been determined to be safe as a food additive by the FDA, although some concern exists about its safety in infant formula; Europe authorities do not allow carrageenen in infant formulas. Carrageenan may be found in a variety of foods, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products and dietary supplements. In pharmaceuticals carrageenan is used as an inactive excipient in tablet production. It is often used as a thickening agent in products like gelatin, and for vegans is often considered a substitute for animal-based gelatins.

List of medications using Carrageenan


  1. Carrageenan. Accessed 1/14/2014.
  2. Environmental Working Group. Carrageenan. Accessed 1/14/2014.
  3. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Volume 3, Revised as of April 1, 2013. CITE: 21CFR172.620. Accessed 1/14/2014.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.