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Sweetening agents used in Pharmaceutical Preparations

Sweetening agents are the chemical substances that added to either mask the unpleasant taste or enhance the perception of sweet taste in an oral pharmaceutical preparation such as tablets, syrup etc. Also called Sweetener. 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 used in Pharmaceutical Preparations:

Name of Sweetening Agents

Used Concentration (%) / Power/ Uses

1. Acesulfame Potassium Sweetening power is approximate 180–200 times that of sucrose, like aspartame.
2. Alitame Approximately 2000 times sweeter than sucrose.
3. Aspartame Sweetening power is Approximate 180–200 times that of sucrose. It is a dipeptide sweetener.
4. Dextrose It is simple sugar that is made from corn and chemically similar to glucose.
5. Erythritol Use as Sweetening agent at concentration 0.5–3.0%
6. Fructose Fructose is 50% sweeter than ordinary sugar.
7. Glucose It is a simple sugar and most abundant monosaccharide.
8. Lactitol Also, It is used as a laxative and is used to treat or prevent constipation.
9. Maltitol As sweet as sucrose.
10. Maltose A dextrodisaccharide from malt and starch.
11. Mannitol It is like xylitol or sorbitol.
12. Neohesperidin Dihydrochalcone Approximately 1500–1800 times sweeter than sucrose and 20 times sweeter than saccharin.
13. Neotame Structurally related to aspartame and is about 30–60 times sweeter than aspartame and 7000–13000 times sweeter than sucrose.
14. Saccharin It is used at a concentration of 0.02–0.5% w/w Approximately 300–600 times sweeter than sucrose.
15. Sodium Cyclamate In dilute solution, up to about 0.17% w/v, approximately the sweetening power is 30 times than sucrose. Sodium cyclamate is used in combination with saccharin, often in a ratio of 10: 1.
16. Sorbitol It is a polyhydric alcohol with about 1/2 sweetness of sucrose. It occurs naturally and also produced from glucose synthetically.
17. Sucralose Approximately It has a sweetening power 300–1000 times that of sucrose and has no aftertaste.
18. Sucrose Use as Sweetening agent at concentration 67%
19. Compressible Sugar Sweetener in chewable tablets at concentration 10 –50%
20. Confectioner’s Sugar Sweetening agent in tablets at concentration 10 –20%
21. Tagatose 10% solution of tagatose is about 92% as sweet as a 10% sucrose solution.
22. Thaumatin It is a naturally occurring intense sweetening agent approximately 2000–3000 times as sweet as sucrose.
23. Xylitol It prevents production of acids by oral bacteria that damage the teeth surfaces.

Structure of some Sweetening agents used in Pharmaceutical Preparations:

You may also read: 

  1. Disintegrants used in pharmaceutical preparations



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


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One comment

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

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