Role of Lubricants in Tablets : Pharmaguideline

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Role of Lubricants in Tablets

Lubricants play an important role in tablet manufacturing. Their main function is to prevent sticking and caking of powder during tablet production.
Lubricants are added to solid tablets and capsules to prevent the sticking of material to the punch, dies and compression machine during manufacturing. It allows the tablet to remove easily from the dies. Lubricants also stop the tablets from sticking to each other when stored in bulk form.

What are lubricants?

Lubricants are the materials used to reduce friction between surfaces. Lubricants are solids or liquid and widely used in engineering and manufacturing industries. These are made up of metals, oils or synthetic compounds.

In tablet manufacturing, lubricants are applied to the compression machines dies during compression. It creates a thin slippery layer between tablet and die that reduces friction and prevents sticking. Lubricants may also be added to the tablet surface that helps in easy removal of tablet from die and prevents them from sticking together.

Functions of lubricants

Lubricants have an important role in tablet manufacturing. Their main function is to prevent powder from sticking and maintain it in a free-flowing stage. This flowability of powder makes the manufacturing process more efficient. Additionally, the lubricant increases the strength of tablets by reducing the friction between the ingredients of tablets during compression.

The role of lubricants in tablet

As we have discussed the importance of lubricants in tablet manufacturing, they also help to control the flow of ingredients, prevent sticking, and reduce friction during tablet compression. Lubricants also help to improve product stability and its release properties. These are also added to other additives to get the desired drug release results.

For example, talc is commonly used as both lubricant and binder in some chewable tablets. This combination helps to minimize the friction and make the tablet smooth. Other additives that are used with the lubricants are fillers like micro crystalline cellulose (MCC), disintegrants like croscarmellose sodium (CCS) and wetting agents like sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS).

It is critical to choose a right lubricant and it depends on the specific requirements of the formulation. The key factors to choose the lubricant include viscosity, its compatibility with other components and toxicity level. These factors must always be considered when selecting a suitable lubricant for your dosage forms.

Different types of lubricants used in tablet

In formulation of tablets, different types of lubricants are used to improve the flow of the active pharmaceutical ingredients and prevent the tablets from sticking. These lubricants can be categorized on the basis of their use.

Wetting agents are used to moisturize dry ingredients and help them mix together easily. They also help in releasing the active ingredients from the tablet. Common wetting agents used in tablet formulation are water, glycerin, sorbitol and propylene glycols.

Stabilizers are used to prevent the tablets from breaking and crumbling during manufacturing, storage and transportation. Common stabilizers used in tablet formulation include derivatives of cellulose (hydroxypropyl methylcellulose), fatty acids (stearic acid) and sodium benzoate.

Viscosity modifiers are used to control the viscosity of the tablet ingredients to flow them smoothly through the manufacturing machines and reduce the interaction with other components. Common viscosity modifiers used in tablet formulation are sodium carboxymethylcellulose, guar gum and xanthan gum.

Lubricants are also used to improve the taste of the tablets. On the basis of their usage lubricants can be classified into various categories.

Disintegrants are used to enhance the dissolution of tablets. Disintegrants breakdown the tablets to release the active ingredient that is absorbed by the body. Common disintegrants used in tablet manufacturing are calcium carbonate, croscarmellose sodium and magnesium stearate.

Lubricants are important components in tablet manufacturing process. They help prevent tablet from sticking and improve flow of material. Without using lubricants, tablet manufacturing will be very challenging and the final product will not meet the required standards. Different types of lubricants are available with their unique advantages and disadvantages. The choice of right lubricant depends on the specific requirements and results.

Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of, 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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