Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)
What is it?
Methylcellulose is used as a tablet and capsule disintegrant, a tablet binder, and as a viscosity-increasing agent. It exists as a free-flowing white powder and dissolves in cold water to yield a clear gel. It is used in the food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries. In the pharmaceutical industry, methylcellulose is used in artificial tears products. Methylcellulose (Citrucel) is also a bulk-forming laxative that works by absorbing water and swelling in the intestines. This helps the stool form the bulk necessary to be easily passed. It may also be used in the manufacturing of capsules as a vegetarian option to gelatin. Methylcellulose has also been used as a substance for special effects in movies where a 'slime' effect is needed. Methylcellulose is derived from cellulose. Cellulose is not digestible or absorbed into the system, and is not known to be toxic or an allergen.
 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