Dextrates Excipient | Uses, Suppliers, and Specifications
Dextrates is a purified mixture of saccharides (mainly dextrose and maltose, plus other polysaccharides) obtained from the enzymatic hydrolysis of starch. It is odourless with a sweet taste (about half as sweet as sucrose) and supplied as a white free-flowing porous powder. When selected for use in direct compression tabletting, dextrates exhibit superior flow, compaction, and tablet robustness.
Synonyms and Trade Names: Dextrates; CANDEX®; EMDEX®. MEGADEX® NF
Pharmacopoeial Compliance: USP-NF
Uses and Applications: Tablet Binder; Tablet and Capsule Diluent; and Sweetening Agent
Dextrates is a purified mixture of different saccharide molecules obtained through the controlled enzymatic hydrolysis of Starch. The resulting product is spray crystallised to yield a free-flowing porous powder which consists of Dextrose as the principal constituent (95% w/w) as well as Maltose (3–5% w/w) and a small quantity of higher polysaccharides. In the USP-NF, Dextrates is defined as a purified mixture of saccharides resulting from the controlled enzymatic hydrolysis of starch. It may be either hydrated or anhydrous and its dextrose equivalent is not less than 93.0% and not more than 99.0%, calculated on a dried basis.
Dextrates were introduced out of the need to improve the compressibility of Dextrose, which does not acquit itself well in direct compression applications. The spray crystallisation process permits the production of an engineered material while avoiding the problems associated with spray drying low molecular weight sugar solutions. Some of the beneficial features of Dextrates include:
- Spherical, porous particles with excellent flowability and compressibility. Dextrates does not require the addition of a glidant and produces strong and robust tablets
- Freely and rapidly soluble in water. It is suitable for chewable, swallow, dispersible and effervescent tablets. Dextrates are well suited for products that require good mouthfeel.
- Narrow particle size distribution
Excipient-grade Dextrates is typically available as the hydrate, being the more economical grade to produce. It is odourless with a sweet taste (about half as sweet as sucrose) and no perciptible odour.
Chemical Structure & Identifiers
|CAS Registration Number||[39404-33-6]|
|Empirical Formula||Not Applicable|
|Molecular weight||Not Applicable|
|UNII Code (FDA)||G263MI44RU|
|Physical form||Solid, powder|
|Appearance||White or whitish powder|
|Angle of repose||30|
|Bulk density||0.68-0.70 g/ml|
|Tapped density||0.72-0.75 g/ml|
|True density||1.540 g/ml|
|Heat of combustion||16.8—18.8 J/g (4.0 – 4.5 cal/g)|
|Heat of solution||-105 J/g|
|Melting point||141 0C|
|Moisture content||7.5—9.5 % w/w (hydrated form)|
|Particle size distribution||Mean particle size 200 µm|
|Solubility||Freely soluble in water; insoluble in ethanol (95%). propanol, and other common organic solvents.|
|Specific surface area||0.70 m²/g|
|pH (20% aqueous solution)||3.8- 5.8|
|Loss on Drying|
7.8 – 9.2%
|Residue on ignition||≤0.1%|
|Heavy Metals||≤ 5pm|
Key: n/a Specification is not listed
*All claims with respect to conformity are subject to our Terms and Conditions. No express or implied warranty is made for specific properties or fitness for any particular application or purpose.
Applications in Pharmaceutical Formulations or Technology
Dextrates was introduced to counter the challenges associated with using Dextrose which is not ideal for use in direct compression applications. It is therefore mainly marketed for use as a diluent and filler in direct compression processes. It may also be used as a tablet binder, and sweetener.
Owing to its many favourable properties (solubility, sweetness, pleasant mouthfeel and a lack of adverse effects), Detrates is mainly used as a directly compressible tablet diluent in chewable, dispersible, and effervescent tablets. Due to being highly compatible and compressible, Dextrates can be used in high levels with minimal negative effects on tablet properties. Finally, being composed of spherical particles that flow freely, Dextrates does not require the use of glidants (e.g Silicon dioxide and Talc). However, the use of adequate lubrication (e.g with Magnesium stearate at 0.5—1.0% w/w) is advised. Wicking-type superdisintegrants (e.g Croscarmellose sodium) are most ideal and offer the most optimum results.
- Tablet binder: 5-30%
- Diluent: 5-30%
- Direct compression tabletting for chewable or swallow tablets
- Stabilises blends for micronised APIs (ordered mixing)
- Better oil and flavour carrying capacities due to microporous structure
- Suitable for effervescent tablets
- Highly compressible (Dextrates > Calcium Phosphate Dihydrate > Spray Dried Lactose >
Safety and Precautions
Dextrates is derived from starch, a biopolymer that is part of the human diet. It is approved for use in pharmaceutical products. Dextrates is used in oral pharmaceutical formulations and is generally regarded as a relatively nontoxic and nonirritant material.
Stability and Storage Conditions
Dextrates is a stable material. The assigned shelf life is 24-36 months. Since Dextrates is highly hygroscopic (equilibrium moisture content 7.5-9.0%), it should be stored correctly and exposure to moisture avoided to maintain their useful life and functionality. It is recommended that storage temperatures not exceed 25 oC and 60% relative humidity. When correctly stored in unopened containers.
Dextrates may be heated without any marked darkening in colour. However, if exposed to high temperatures and humidities, Dextrates may react with substances containing a primary amino group (Maillard reaction).
When handling Dextrates in a work setting, observance of the recommended precautions appropriate to the circumstances and quantity of material handled is recommended. Eye protection, gloves, and a dust mask should be used to minimise unnecessary contact with mucous membranes.
Sustainability and Environmental Impact
Dextrates has not been assessed for sustainability.
Manufacturers & Suppliers
Additional Resources (Downloads)
References and Literature Used
 I.G. Olmo, E.S. Ghaly, Compressional characterization of two dextrose-based directly compressible excipients using an instrumented tablet press, Pharmaceutical development and technology, 4 (1999) 221-231.
 P.J.C. Sheskey, Walter G; Cable, Colin G, Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients – 8th Edition, Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 18 (2017) 544-544.
 A.J. Shukla, J.C. Price, Effect of moisture content on compression properties of two dextrose-based directly compressible diluents, Pharmaceutical Research, 8 (1991) 336-340. Pubmed | Google Scholar
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