Everything You Need to Know About Choosing the Right Pharmaceutical Desiccants

Packaging is one of the primary concerns that come up when developing and packaging pharmaceutical products. Due to environmental conditions, food products, pharma, and nutraceutical products can change and deteriorate with time. This degradation occurs depending on the nature of the product and how it reacts to different environmental conditions. Everything You Need to Know About Choosing the Right Pharmaceutical Desiccants.

The presence of moisture in the air is one of the biggest concerns leading to negative impacts on the stability and shelf life of such products. To protect pharmaceutical products from damage brought by moisture or humidity, finding an effective dehydrating solution is the first thing you should do.

Pharmaceutical desiccants are used by many companies to maintain the quality, strength, and purity of medicinal substances over a long time. These substances help drug manufacturers maintain their standards and satisfy their customers.

This is important because a pharmaceutical company needs to preserve the drugs and sell only effective drugs to their clients, to build trust and rapport but also to keep your patients healthy.

While the cap or closure mechanism will protect most medicines physically, the type, quality, and quantity of the desiccant can have a massive impact on the quality of formulation for the user. Using a generic desiccant won’t fetch you the best results, and the wrong kind can result in over-desiccation.

This can also be a huge cause for concern to the health of the end-user. Desiccant canisters are designed for static adsorption of moisture within a closed environment. Such desiccants include silica gel, molecular sieves, activated carbon, clay, and so on.

These desiccants are convenient and economical to make small packages of, which are to be placed inside the product package. The main purpose of desiccant canisters is to absorb the moisture in a closed environment.

It makes preserving the drugs easier and prolongs their shelf life. You need to choose the right solution without compromising the quality and integrity of your products to solve moisture-related issues.

How To Choose The Right Desiccant

It is extremely crucial to choose the right desiccant, which is why you should know about the types of them. The two most commonly used desiccants are silica gel and molecular sieves.

The moisture absorption characteristics of both these differences when we look at how they perform. WIth molecular sieves, you will notice excellent adsorptive properties at low humidity levels. Silica gel, on the other hand, tends to perform poorly in low humidity. Both have similar moisture retention capacities at room temperature.

Silica gel is considered to be the most stable desiccant to use with products that have stable storage temperatures and relatively high humidity levels. It is inert, non-toxic, and highly stable, making it clear why it is so commonly used with many pharma products.

Molecular sieves, on the other hand, are more aggressive and rapid in absorbing moisture and therefore, perform better when used with products that need instant protection from moisture. This is also stable over a large temperature range and can maintain its higher mixture retention capabilities.

Caution must be taken to ensure the selection of proper dosage for use in products having specific RH requirements. Packaging experts also need to consider a few additional factors to get optimal results from the desiccant they choose.

While choosing the right adsorbent is important, it’s equally important to choose the product within the desiccant range, as each of them serves different purposes. In the case of molecular sieve, there are many variants that are commonly used, like 3A, 4A, and 13X. Type 4A is the most popular choice for pharma packaging.

Likewise, there are several types of silica gel also available in the market. Type A, B, C are the most commonly used. However, Type A has been specifically designed for efficient adsorption of moisture in pharma packaging.

Medical devices like diagnostic kits, API’s and other inert products will fare much better with silica gel in terms of compatibility. Thermal sensitive medicines, however, can be preserved much better by using molecular sieves.

Both over and under desiccation can impact the life span and efficiency of medical drugs, and thus, companies involved in packaging these products need to ensure they’re using the most appropriate type and quantity of these substances.

To get the required optimum results from desiccants, manufacturers need to examine multiple testing parameters like Loss on drying, Moisture Adsorption Capacity at low Rh, and temperature fluctuations, amongst other parameters.

Ensuring the quality and purity of the pharmaceutical desiccants by cross-checking with your suppliers is something that needs to be a priority, as you do not want to give your end-users any substance that could potentially harm them.

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