When used as a pharmaceutical preparation, it contains at least one active ingredient dissolved in a solution that contains 15 to 50% by volume of ethyl alcohol and it is designed to be taken orally.
Types of Elixirs:
1. Non-medicated elixirs:
It is used as a solvent or vehicle for the preparation of medicated elixirs: aromatic elixirs (USP), isoalcholic elixirs (NF) or compound benaldehyde elixirs (NF).
2. Medicated elixirs
- Antihistaminic elixirs: used against allergy: chlorampheniramine maleate elixirs (USP), diphenhydramine HCl elixirs.
- Sedative and hypnotic elixirs: sedatives induce drowsiness and hypnotics induce sleep: pediatric chloral hydrate elixirs.
- Expectorant: used to facilitate productive cough (cough with sputum): terpin hydrate elixirs.
- Miscellaneous: acetaminophen (paracetamol) elixirs which are used as analgesic.
An elixir is a hydro-alcoholic solution of at least one active ingredient. The alcohol is mainly used to:
- Solubilize the active ingredient(s) and some excipients
- Retard the crystallization of sugar
- Preserve the finished product
- Provide a certain sharpness to the taste
- Aid in masking the unpleasant taste of the active ingredient(s)
- Enhance the flavor.
An elixir may also contain the following excipients:
- Sugar and/or sugar substitutes like the sugar polyols glycerol and sorbitol.
- Preservatives like parabens and bezoates and antioxidants like butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and sodium metabisulfite.
- Buffering agents
- Chelating agents like sodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
- Flavoring agents and flavor enhancers
- Coloring agents
Elixirs should be stored in a tightly closed and light resistant container away from direct heat and sunlight.