Types of Glass Containers used in Pharmaceuticals : Pharmaceutical Guidelines

Types of Glass Containers used in Pharmaceuticals

Quality of glass containers is important for pharmaceuticals because it can alter the quality of product that get contained in it.
Glass containers are often used in pharmaceuticals because they offer some important benefits that other materials don’t offer. They are formed by blowing, drawing, pressing, and casting. Here are some of the advantages of glass containers that make them fantastic option for pharmaceutical uses:
  • They are easy to sterilize with heat.
  • Colored glass has the ability to protect its content from certain wavelengths which include the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
  • They are chemically inert and will not react with their content.
  • They are impermeable to water and air and that makes them a great storage facility for drugs.
  • They are transparent so, their content can be seen without opening them.

It is also important to let you know that not all glass containers are good for pharmaceutical use. The factors considered when selecting glass containers are sensitivity to calcium and barium ions, thermal expansion properties, hydrolytic resistance, and limited alkalinity. This is why glass containers are categorized into different types for pharmaceutical uses.

Types of Glass Containers
Glass Containers for Pharmaceuticals

Glass containers are classified into Types I, II, III, and IV.

Type I Glass Containers

This type of glass contains 10% of boric oxide, 80% of silica, and small quantities of both aluminum oxide and sodium oxide. The boric oxide in it makes it highly hydrolytically resistant and chemically inert. In addition, its coefficient of expansion is very low and high its thermal shock property is quite high. Due to its characteristics, a Type I glass container is great for packaging materials for a lot of parenteral and non-parenteral preparations. It can also be used to store strong alkalis and acids.

Type II Glass Containers

This is similar to Type III containers. In fact, a Type II glass container is regarded as a modified Type III container. Type II containers have high hydrolytic resistance. Type II glass containers are actually Type III containers whose inner surface have been treated with sulfur. This treatment helps to prevent weathering from the containers. Type II glass generally has a lower melting point than Type I glass so it is much easier to mould. Type II glass containers are suitable for storing neutral aqueous preparations and acidic preparations whether they are parenteral or non-parenteral.

Type III Glass Containers

This type of glass containers is made of 10% calcium oxide, 15% sodium oxide, and 75% silica. They also contain negligible amounts of aluminum oxide, potassium oxide, and magnesium oxide. While magnesium oxide reduces the temperature required to mould the glass, aluminum oxide improves its chemical durability.

This type of glass container is used for packaging non-parenteral preparations and for packaging certain parenteral products.

Type IV Glass Containers

This type of glass containers contains general-purpose soda lime and they have low hydrolytic resistance. This category of glass containers is the best for products that are meant to be autoclaved because the rate of erosion reaction of the glass containers will be increased. Type IV glass containers are used for the storage of oral dosage forms and topical products.
In summary, glass containers are classified into Types I, II, III, and IV for pharmaceutical uses and all of them are suitable for different uses.





Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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