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Pharmaceutical Glaze

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 19, 2020.

What is it?

Pharmaceutical glaze is a food-grade shellac often used for coating medicines. Shellac serves as a coating material for pharmaceutical tablets and capsules, and may be found in time-released, or extended-release medicines, as it slows down the drug break down in the stomach. Shellac is a resin that comes from the secretions of the female lac insect. When used in food and candies, shellac has the food additive number E904, and is described on food labels as ‘confectioner’s glaze’, ‘confectioner’s resin’, ‘resinous glaze’, ‘candy glaze’, ‘pure food glaze’ and ‘natural glaze’. [1]


[1] Gentle World. Shellac & Food Glaze. Accessed February 27, 2015 at

Further information

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