Carboxymethylcellulose Calcium – A solubility-enhancing excipient

1. Chemical structure

Carboxymethylcellulose Calcium is a salt of calcium with the polycarboxymethyl ether of cellulose.

2. Pharmacopoeia nomenclature

Carmellose Calcium (British, Japanese, European pharmacopeia), Carboxymethylcellulose Calcium (US pharmacopoeia)

3. Trade name

ECG 505, CMC calcium, Calcium carboxymethylcellulose, Nymcel ZSC,..

4. General properties

White to yellowish white powder, hygroscopic. pH ranges from 4.5 to 6 when 1% w/v is dissolved in water. Insoluble in water and nearly insoluble in 95% ethanol.

5. Main application

CMC calcium is commonly used as a disintegrant in tablets. Despite being insoluble in water, CMC calcium expands by multiple times its original volume when exposed to water.

Tablet hardness is frequently lowered when used in formulations at concentrations higher than 15%. Additionally, Calcium CMC is utilized similarly to the application of Sodium CMC as a viscosity-increasing component in topical and oral treatments. Because of its hygroscopic qualities, ability to retain moisture and hemostatic qualities, calcium CMC is also used in wound dressings.

A number of top brand-name drugs contain this excipient:

Pioglitazone (ACTOS 15), Candesartan cilexetil (Atacand), Cefdinir (Omnicef), Cefpodoxime Proxetil (Vantin), Cilostazol (Pletal), Milnacipran Hydrochloride 50 mg.

6. Personal experience

Calcium CMC’s great disintegration abilities can improve the tablet solubility of several pharmaceutical ingredients, such as cefdinir (patent WO2012060787A1) and cefpodoxime (patent EP 1365764 B1). However, because the cost of this material is fairly high, you need to take into consideration the product price. When utilized in a large amount in the formula, Calcium CMC, which is free-flowing, can have an impact on the tablets’ hardness.


  1. Carboxymethylcellulose Calcium
  2. Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients 8th
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