Sweetening agents for Pharmaceutical Preparations

Sweetening agents are chemical substances that are added to either mask the unpleasant taste or enhance the perception of a sweet taste in some oral pharmaceutical preparations such as tablets, syrup, suspension etc. Also, Sweetening agents are called sweeteners. Importantly, sweetening agents are the common excipient for Pediatrics.

Classification of Sweetening agents used in Pharmaceutical Preparations

Generally, Sweetening agents can be classified into two main categories:

  1. Plant-derived Sweetening agents: such as Erythritol, Lactitol, Maltitol, Mannitol, and Xylitol etc.
  2. Artificial Sweetening agents: such as Aspartame, Neotame, and Alitame etc.

Also, Sweetening agents can be classified into two main categories:

  1. Nutritive or caloric Sweetening agents: such as Glucose, Lactose, and Dextrose, etc.
  2. Nonnutritive or low-calorie Sweetening agents: such as Aspartame, Neotame, and Alitame etc.

List of Sweetening agents for Pharmaceutical Preparations

Name of Sweetener

Used Concentration (%) / Power/ Uses

1. Acesulfame PotassiumSweetening power is approximate 180–200 times that of sucrose, like aspartame.
2. AlitameApproximately 2000 times sweeter than sucrose.
3. AspartameSweetening power is Approximately 180–200 times that of sucrose. It is a dipeptide sweetener.
4. DextroseIt is a simple sugar that is made from corn and chemically similar to glucose.
5. ErythritolUse as Sweetening agent at concentration 0.5–3.0%
6. FructoseFructose is 50% sweeter than ordinary sugar.
7. GlucoseIt is a simple sugar and the most abundant monosaccharide.
8. LactitolAlso, It is used as a laxative and is used to treat or prevent constipation.
9. MaltitolAs sweet as sucrose.
10. MaltoseA dextrodisaccharide from malt and starch.
11. MannitolIt is like xylitol or sorbitol.
12. Neohesperidin DihydrochalconeApproximately 1500–1800 times sweeter than sucrose and 20 times sweeter than saccharin.
13. NeotameStructurally related to aspartame and is about 30–60 times sweeter than aspartame and 7000–13000 times sweeter than sucrose.
14. SaccharinIt is used at a concentration of 0.02–0.5% w/w Approximately 300–600 times sweeter than sucrose.
15. Sodium CyclamateIn dilute solution, up to about 0.17% w/v, approximately the sweetening power is 30 times more than sucrose. Sodium cyclamate is used in combination with saccharin, often in a ratio of 10: 1.
16. SorbitolIt is a polyhydric alcohol with about 1/2 sweetness of sucrose. It occurs naturally and also produced from glucose synthetically.
17. SucraloseApproximately It has a sweetening power 300–1000 times that of sucrose and has no aftertaste.
18. SucroseUse as a Sweetening agent at a concentration of 67%
19. Compressible SugarThe sweetener in chewable tablets at a concentration of 10 –50%
20. Confectioner’s SugarSweetening agent in tablets at a concentration of 10 –20%
21. Tagatose10% solution of tagatose is about 92% as sweet as a 10% sucrose solution.
22. ThaumatinIt is a naturally occurring intense sweetening agent approximately 2000–3000 times as sweet as sucrose.
23. XylitolIt prevents production of acids by oral bacteria that damage the teeth’ surfaces.

Structure of some Sweeteners for Pharmaceutical Preparations

List of Sweetening-agents

You may also read: 

  1. Disintegrants used in pharmaceutical preparations
  2. Tablet Binders: Types and Examples with Concentration


Rowe, R. C., Sheskey, P. J., Owen, S. C., & American Pharmacists Association. (2006). Handbook of pharmaceutical excipients. London: Pharmaceutical Press.

1 thought on “Sweetening agents for Pharmaceutical Preparations”

  1. WOW! more powerful sweetener than sucrose are available. I just know that saccharin is power artificial sweetener than sucrose.

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