Docusate Sodium -  A Pharmaceutical Grade Excipient

Docusate sodium is a pharmaceutical grade surfactant, making it an efficient emulsifier, wetting, dispersing and solubilizing agent. Cytec offers Docusate sodium as a 100% waxy material and 85% active combined with NF grade sodium benzoate.  


Historically, docusate sodium was used as a pharmaceutical grade excipient as it has proven effective in various formulations:

  • Dispersing agent for tablet manufacture
  • Liquid or gel suspensions
  • Effervescing tablets
  • Emulsifier for creams and gels
  • Emulsifier and softener for ear wax removal compounds
  • Wetting agent in pre-operative colon cleaning preparations to prenatal and geriatric vitamin preparations.

In addition to excellent solubilizing, wetting, dispersing and emulsifying properties, docusate sodium gives a low order of toxicity and is stable and compatible with a wide range of pharmacologically active drugs. 

Docusate sodium is also as a powerful solubilizing agent, helping the formulation of poorly soluble active ingredients (APIs). Many new APIs (reported to be 40-70%) have a poor aqueous solubility leading to reduced bioavailability. Reduced bioavailability has an efficacy and financial consequence, as patients are not receiving the benefits of the medication and companies are not able to take full advantage of expensive APIs. There is also an unforeseen impact on the environment as trace quantities of these APIs might find their way into the water table. 

Docusate sodium can be used to overcome this bioavailability issue by improving solubility using a variety of manufacturing techniques such as wet granulating, nano milling and hot melt extrusion (HME). Cytec can provide formulation examples of these various techniques with BCS class 2 and 4. To learn more about Cytec’s industry-leading pharmaceutical grade docusate sodium surfactant, register to receive additional information or contact us to discuss your specific pharmaceutical application with one of our Cytec Specialty Additives technical representatives.