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Sodium Chloride

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 4, 2023.

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Sodium chloride (NaCl) is the chemical name for salt. Sodium chloride occurs naturally as the mineral halite. Commercially, it is obtained by the solar evaporation of salt water, or by mining. It is a component of sodium chloride injections USP, and has production uses in pharmaceutical processing.[1]

Sodium chloride has uses a channeling agent, and as an osmotic agent in the cores of controlled-release tablets. It also is used to help modify drug release, and to adjust porosity in tablet coatings. It can adjust drug release from gels and emulsions, and adjust the thickness of solutions by altering the ionic attributes of a formulation.[1]

Sodium chloride is widely used in a variety of pharmaceutical products to produce isotonic solutions. It is used in normal nasal saline sprays, in intravenous lock flush solutions, and in eye washes or solutions. Sodium chloride tablets are also available to replace salt lost through excess sweating to help prevent muscle cramps. Sodium chloride solution may also be used to dilute medications for nebulization and inhalation.[2]

As an excipient, sodium chloride may be regarded as nontoxic and nonirritant. However, toxic effects following the oral ingestion of 0.5–1.0 g per kilogram of body weight in adults may occur.[1]

List of medications using Sodium Chloride


  1. [1]Medicines Complete. Pharmaceutical Excipients. Monographs. Sodium chloride. Accessed April 16, 2012.
  2. Sodium chloride. Accessed April 8, 2012.

Further information

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