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Carboxy Methyl Cellulose: A Promising Polymer for Pharmaceutical Applications

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-08-14      Origin: Site


Carboxy methyl cellulose (CMC) is a derivative of cellulose, which is a complex carbohydrate polymer made up of glucose units. It is formed by the reaction of cellulose with alkali and chloroacetic acid. The resulting product has anionic carboxyl groups, which makes it soluble in water and gives it the ability to form gels. Because of its biocompatibility, non-toxicity, and ease of handling, CMC has become a popular polymer for use in various pharmaceutical applications. In this essay, we will discuss the properties and uses of CMC in the pharmaceutical industry.

Properties of Carboxy Methyl Cellulose

The physical and chemical properties of CMC make it an ideal polymer for use in the pharmaceutical industry. Its solubility in water allows it to be easily incorporated into aqueous solutions, and its ability to form gels makes it useful for the formulation of controlled-release drug delivery systems. It is also non-toxic and biodegradable, making it a safe material for use in medical applications.

The degree of carboxylation of CMC determines its solubility and gel-forming properties. The higher the degree of carboxylation, the more water-soluble and gel-forming the CMC becomes. The viscosity of the CMC solution can also be adjusted by changing the degree of carboxylation. This property is useful for controlling the release rate of drugs from CMC-based formulations.

Uses of Carboxy Methyl Cellulose in Pharmaceutical Industry

Carboxy methyl cellulose has a wide range of applications in the pharmaceutical industry. It is used in a variety of drug delivery systems, including tablets, capsules, creams, and gels. Its gel-forming properties make it suitable for use in sustained-release formulations, while its solubility in water makes it useful for the preparation of aqueous solutions.

Tablets: CMC is used in tablet formulations as a binder, disintegrant, and diluent. It gives tablets a uniform and stable structure, allowing for controlled release of the drug. It also enhances the bioavailability of the drug by improving its solubility in water.

Capsules: CMC is used as a capsule filler to improve the flow properties of the drug. It also helps to prevent the drug from caking, ensuring that it is evenly distributed throughout the capsule.

Creams and Gels: CMC is used in creams and gels as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier. It helps to hold the active ingredients in place, preventing them from separating or settling. It also gives the cream or gel a smooth and consistent texture.

Sustained-Release Formulations: CMC is often used in the preparation of sustained-release formulations. Its gel-forming properties allow it to form a barrier around the drug, slowly releasing it over time. This results in a longer duration of action and a more consistent drug concentration in the bloodstream.


In the pharmaceutical industry, carboxy methyl cellulose has become a popular polymer due to its unique properties. Its solubility in water and gel-forming properties make it useful for a variety of drug delivery systems, while its non-toxicity and biodegradability make it a safe material for medical applications. CMC has a wide range of uses in the pharmaceutical industry, including tablet formulations, capsules, creams, gels, and sustained-release formulations. As research in the field continues, CMC will undoubtedly play an increasing role in the development of new and innovative drug delivery systems.