Powders: Pharmaceutical powders and Powder of IP, effervescent granules and salts and MCQs for GPAT, NIPER, Pharmacist and Drug Inspector Exam

Powders: Pharmaceutical powders and Powder of IP, effervescent granules and salts and MCQs for GPAT, NIPER, Pharmacist and Drug Inspector Exam

Powders of IP:

Classification of pharmaceutical powders –

1.Powders for internal use

(a) Divided powders

(i) Simple powders (ii) Compound powders (iii) Powders enclosed in cachet (iv) Tablet triturates

(b) Bulk powders

(i) Antacid (ii) Laxative

2.Powders for external use

(a) Dusting powders

(i) Medicated dusting powders (ii) Surgical dusting powders

(b) Insufflations

(c) Douche powder

(d) Dentifrices

3.Special powders

(a) Eutectic mixtures

(b) Effervescent powders

Powders for Internal use/Oral powders: According to Indian Pharmacopoeia 2007, oral powders are finely divided powders that contain one or more medicaments with or without auxiliary substances including, where specified, flavouring and coloring agents. However, addition of saccharin or its salts it not permitted in the preparations meant for pediatric use. They are intended to be take‘ internally with or without the aid of water or any other suitable liquid.

Divided powders (or Charta) are single doses of powdered drugs individually wrapped in cellophane, metallic foil, or paper.

The divided powder is a more accurate dosage form than bulk powder because the patient is not involved in measurement of the dose. Divided powders are commercially available in foil, cellophane or paper packs.

  • Simple powder: it consists of only one active ingredient. If powder is in crystalline form, then it is reduced to fine.

Example;- Aspirin Powder 300mg, Calcium Gluconate Powder etc.

  • Compound powder: It consists of mixture of more than one active ingredient and other constituents.

Example:  Aspirin, Paracetamol and Caffeine Powder

Aspirin-300 mg

Paracetamol-150 mg

Paracetamol-150 mg

  • Powders enclosed in cachet: Cachets consist of a dry powder enclosed in a shell, usually prepared from a mixture of rice flour and water by molding into a suitable shape and drying. They are quite useful for administering the drugs with nauseating and unpleasant taste and a large dose can be enclosed in a cachet than in a tablet or capsule. Before administration, a cachet should be immersed in water for few seconds and then placed on the tongue and swallowed with water.

Example:- Sodium Amino salicylate Cachet, Sodium Amino salicylate with lsoniazid Cachets.

  • Tablet triturates: Tablet triturates are powders molded into tablets. Tablet triturates are generally prepared by mixing the active drug with lactose, dextrose, sucrose, mannitol, or some other appropriate diluents that can serve as the base.

Example: Propranolol Scopolamine Tablet Triturate

Propranolol hydrochloride 40 mg

Scopolamine hydrobromide 0.5 mg

Bulk powder are non-potent and can be closed with acceptable accuracy and safety using measuring devices such as the teaspoon, cup, or insufflators.

(i) Antacid :

Example:  Magnesium Trisilicate Compound Oral Powder BP

Magnesium trisilicate-250 mg

Chalk-250 mg

Heavy magnesium carbonate-250 mg

Sodium bicarbonate-250 mg

(ii) Laxative Example:

Example:- Polyethylene Glycol 3350 NF Powder for Oral Solution

Polyethylene glycol 3350-13.125 9

Sodium chloride-350.7 mg

Sodium hydrogen carbonate-178.5 mg

Potassium chloride-46.6 mg

Powders for external use:

Dusting powders  are externally used bulk powders. They are free flowing very fine powders containing antiseptics, antipruritics, astringents, antiperspirants, absorbents, lubricants etc.

(i)Medicated dusting powders: Medicated dusting powders are sterile ones and meant for application on superficial skin.


Talc-51 g


Precipitated chalk-21g

Precipitated chalk-21g

Boric acid-5g

Salicylic acid-5g

(ii)Surgical dusting powders: Surgical dusting powders are intended to be used into deep layer of skin and also on major wounds as a result on burns and umbilical cords of infants. Surgical dusting powders must be free from pathogenic microorganism and hence it must be sterilized before their use.

Example: Neosporin Dusting Powder

Bacitracin (5000 IU)

Neomycin (3400 IU)

Polymyxin B (400 IU)

lnsufflations are medicated dusting powders meant for introduction into the body cavities such as nose. throat, ears, etc. with the help of an apparatus known as insufflators (powder blower).

Example: Cromolyn Sodium Powder, Compound Clioquin Powder USP

Douche powders are intended to be used as antiseptics or cleansing agents for a body cavity; most commonly for vaginal use, although they may be formulated for nasal, otic or ophthalmic use also.

Example: Douche powder

Zinc sulphate

Magnesium sulphate

Boric acid

Lemon oil

Purified water

Dentifrices are preparations meant to clean the teeth and other parts of oral cavity (gums) using a finger or a toothbrush.


Hard soap (in fine powder) -50g

Precipitated calcium carbonate -935g

Saccharine sodium -2g

Peppermint oil -4ml

Cinnamon oil -2ml

Methyl salicylate- 8ml

To make-about -1000g

Special powders:

Eutectic mixtures are defined as mixtures of low melting point ingredients which on mixing together turn to liquid form due to depression in melting point of the mixture below room temperature. They are mixtures of substances, that liquefy when mixed, rubbed or triturated together.

Examples of the substances which tend to liquefy on mixing are camphor, thymol, menthol, salol.

Effervescent powders contain materials which react in presence of water evolving carbon dioxide.  This class of preparations can be supplied either by compounding the ingredients as granules or dispensed in the form of salts. For evolution of the gas two constituents are essential, a soluble carbonate such as sodium bicarbonate and an organic acid such as citric or tartaric acid.  The preparation can be supplied either as a bulk powder or distributed in individual powders.

Effervescent granules are prepared by two general methods: (a) the dry or fusion
method and (b) the wet method.

Dry or fusion method: In the fusion method, the one molecule of water present in each molecule of citric acid acts as the binding agent for the powder mixture. Before mixing the powders, the citric acid crystals are powdered and then mixed with the other powders of the same sieve size to ensure uniformity of the mixture. The sieves and the mixing equipment should be made of stainless steel or other material resistant to the effect of the acids. The mixing of the powders is performed as rapidly as is practical, preferably in an environment of low humidity to avoid absorption of moisture and a premature chemical reaction. After mixing, the powder is placed on a suitable dish in an oven at 34°C to 40°C. During the heating process, an acidresistant spatula is used to turn the powder. The heat releases the water of crystallization from the citric acid, which, in turn, dissolves a portion of the powder mixture, setting the chemical reaction and consequently releasing some carbon dioxide. This causes the softened mass of powder to become somewhat spongy, and when it has reached the proper consistency (as bread dough), it is removed from the oven and rubbed through a sieve to produce granules of the desired size. A No. 4 sieve produces large granules, a No. 8 sieve prepares medium size granules, and a No. 10 sieve prepares small granules. The granules are dried at a temperature not exceeding 54°C and are immediately placed in containers and tightly sealed.

Wet method: The wet method differs from the fusion method in that the source of binding agent is not the water of crystallization from the citric acid but the water added to alcohol as the moistening agent, forming the pliable mass for granulation. In this method, all of the powders may be anhydrous as long as water is added to the moistening liquid. Just enough liquid is added (in portions) to prepare a mass of proper consistency; then the granules are prepared and dried in the same manner as previously described.

Multiple choice questions:

1.Powders for internal use can be classified as

a)Divided powders

b)Bulk powders

c)Both of these

d)only a

2.Divided powders can be classified as

a)Simple powders

b)Compound powders

c)Powders enclosed in cachet

d)All of these

3.Bulk powders can be classified as



c)Both of these

d)None of these

4.Addition of _____ it not permitted in the powder preparations meant for pediatric use.

a)saccharin or its salts

b)magnesium salts

c)sodium salts

d)all of these

5.Divided powders are called as





6.Divided powders  are single doses of powdered drugs individually wrapped in


b)metallic foil


d)all of these

7.Which of the following are examples of Simple powder?

a) Aspirin Powder 300mg

b)Calcium Gluconate Powder

c)Aspirin, Paracetamol and Caffeine Powder

d)a and b

8.Cachets consist of a dry powder enclosed in a shell, usually prepared from a mixture of 

a)rice flour and water

b)gram flour and water


d)all of these

9.Powders for external use can be classified as

a)Dusting powders

b) Insufflations

c)Douche powder

d)All of these

10.Dusting powders can be classified as

a)Medicated dusting powders

b)Surgical dusting powders

c)Both of these

d)None of these

11.Which of the following powders are sterile?

a)Medicated dusting powders

b)Eutectic powders


d)Special powders

12.Which of the following is example of Surgical dusting powders?

a)Cromolyn Sodium Powder

b)Compound Clioquin Powder USP

c)Neosporin Dusting Powder

d)All of these

13.lnsufflations are medicated dusting powders meant for introduction into the body cavities such as nose. throat, ears, etc. with the help of an apparatus known as


b)powder blower

c)both of these

d)none of these

14.Examples of the substances which tend to liquefy on mixing are




d)all of these

15.Effervescent granules are prepared by which of the following methods?

a)dry method

b)fusion method

c)wet method

d)all of these


  1. c)Both of these
  2. d)All of these
  3. c)Both of these
  4. a)saccharin or its salts
  5. c)charta
  6. d)all of these
  7. d)a and b
  8. a)rice flour and water
  9. d)All of these
  10. c)Both of these
  11. a)Medicated dusting powders
  12. c)Neosporin Dusting Powder
  13. c)both of these
  14. d)all of these
  15. d)all of these


  1. Ansels Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms and Drug Delivery Systems, 10th edition, page no. 225-235.

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