Definition of Active pharmaceutical ingredient

n today’s world more than 80% of the population takes drugs in some sort of medicine, have you ever wondered how these drugs work inside the system of a living beings.


Essential components of any drug are-

  • Active pharmaceutical ingredient    (API): the core ingredient of the drug which performs the major therapeutic task
  • Excipient: provides support to API by delivering the drug or by catalyzing effects of the drug

A substance or combination of substances used in a finished pharmaceutical product (FPP), intended to provide pharmacological activity to improve or modify physiological functions of human beings is called as Active pharmaceutical ingredient    . Speaking in common language, the Active pharmaceutical ingredient     (API) is that especial biologically active ingredient of a drug which is the reason for the desired effect the medicine has on the individual taking it.The best example is, in the drugs used to treat headaches Acetaminophen is the active ingredient, and the liquid in the capsule is the excipient.

The other function of an Active pharmaceutical ingredient     is facilitating the mitigation, treatment and rehabilitation so as to induce positive changes in physiology of a person

The process for enhancing and optimizing the composition of mixture used in the drug is known as “formulation”. An Active pharmaceutical ingredient     molecule consists of many chemical functional groups, since the objective of formulating an API molecule is not only dependent on the positive healing effect but also on the pharmacodynamics considerations of the human system, which is why the process of synthesizing the Active pharmaceutical ingredient    is difficult.

Active pharmaceutical ingredient      are generally synthesized via a number of processes:

  • Most common is recovery and isolation from natural sources
  • Chemical synthesis in a reactor artificially
  • Fermentation of natural components
  • Recombinant DNA technology which is making strides recently
  • Combining the above


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