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Hydroxypropyl Cellulose

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 4, 2023.

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Hydroxypropyl cellulose is a derivative of cellulose. It is used in the industry as an excipient and as an ophthalmic ingredient to treat dry eye disease and irritation caused by insufficient tears. As an ophthalmic agent, it acts to stabilize and thicken tears and prolongs the tear film breakup time which is usually accelerated in patients with dry eye states. A brand name product that contains hydroxypropyl cellulose is Lacrisert from Bausch & Lomb.

Hydroxypropyl cellulose is also used as an excipient (defined as substances other than the active ingredient included in the finished pharmaceutical product dosage form). According to Drug Topics, hydroxypropyl cellulose can be used as a tablet binder, thickening agent, viscosity-increasing agent, coating agent and film former in the pharmaceutical industry.[1][2]

List of medications using Hydroxypropyl Cellulose


  1. Dave RH. Overview of pharmaceutical excipients used in tablets and capsules. Drug Topics (online). Advanstar. 10/24/2008 Accessed 2/10/2017
  2. Lacrisert Insert. Product Monograph. Accessed 2/10/2017 at

Further information

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