We all know what ingredients are, we read them on the label of almost all of the products we
use. They are the ones that help us make a decision as to whether to buy one thing or the other.
The term active ingredient refers to the most active component in a particular product.
Active pharmaceutical ingredient refers to the ingredient that is biologically active in a
pharmaceutical drug. Most of the drugs contain more than one active ingredient.
Components of a drug
A pharmaceutical drug is made of more than one component. It mainly consists of 2 aspects.
These aspects are:-
– Active pharmaceutical ingredient- this is the main/ primary part of the drug. It contains
the biologically active component that is actively involved in the purpose of the drug.
Some drugs will contain more than one active pharmaceutical ingredient while others
contain just a single API. This part of the drug yields the desired effect of the drug in the
body. For example, the API in a pharmaceutical drug intended to ease headaches is solely
responsible for the pain relief.
– Excipients- this is basically the filler substance inside the drug. It is either in solid form in
tablets or powder in capsules or the liquid in syrups. The excipients are non- reactive or
inactive. They do not have any effect on the body. Any excipient consumed on its own
would produce zero effect on the body. The purpose of the excipients is to hold the active
The strength of a drug is different prescriptions is basically the amount of API it contains.
Different medicinal effects will be caused by different levels of API of one drug. That is why
sticking to your prescription is always a good and wise idea.