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Polysorbate

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Polysorbates are common excipient and solubilizing agents used in the pharmaceutical industry. For example, polysorbate 80 (also known as polyoxyethylene-sorbitan-20 mono-oleate, or Tween 80) is commonly used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry in lotions, medical preparations (e.g., vitamin oils, vaccines, and intravenous preparations) and as an excipient in tablets.[1] A solubilizing agent acts as a surfactant and increases the solubility of one agent in another. A substance that would not normally dissolve in a particular solution is able to dissolve with the use of a solubilizing agent.

[1] [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

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