PASTES – PHARMACEUTICS II (Dispensing Pharmacy) D. Pharm 2nd year PDF Notes


PASTES - PHARMACEUTICS II  (Dispensing Pharmacy) D. Pharm 2nd year PDF Notes

 Pastes are semi-solid preparations intended for external application to the skin. The pastes are generally very thick and stiff. They do not melt at ordinary temperature and thus form a protective coating over the area where they are applied. They are used mainly as antiseptic protective or soothing dressings which are often spread on lint before being applied.

Bases used for pastes:

The following types of bases are used for the preparation of pastes:

1) Hydrocarbon bases: Soft paraffin and liquid paraffin are commonly used bases for the preparation    of pastes.

2) Water miscible bases: Emulsifying ointment is used as a water miscible base for the preparation of pastes. Glycerine is also used as water miscible base for the preparation of pastes.

3) Water soluble bases: Suitable combination of high and low molecular weight polyethylene glycols are mixed together to get product of desired consistency which soften or melt when applied to the skin. Ex: macrogol base.

Method of preparation of pastes:

Pastes are prepared by trifurcations and fusion methods just like ointments. The trituration method is used only in those cases where the base is liquid or semi-solid. The fusion method is used when the base is semi solid or solid in nature.

Storage of pastes:

The pastes should be stored in a well closed container and in a cool place so as to prevent evaporation of moisture present in the paste. Pastes should be stored and supplied in containers made up of materials which do not allow absorption or diffusion of the contents.

Differentiation between pastes and ointments:

1. They contain large amount of
finely powdered solids such as starch, zinc oxide, calcium carbonate etc.

2. They are very thick and stiff.

3. They are less greasy.

4. They are generally applied with a
spatula or spread on lint.

5. They form a protective coating to
the area where it is applied.

6. Paste contains large amount of
powder which is porous in nature, hence perspiration can escape.

7. They are less macerating than

1. They contain medicaments which
are generally dissolved /suspended/emulsified in the base.

2. They are soft semi solid preparations.

3. They are more greasy.

4. They are simply applied on the

5. They are used as protective or
emollient forthe skin.

6. They are used for the protection
of lesions.

7. They are more macerating in

Advantages of Pharmaceutical Paste

Pharmaceutical pastes offer several advantages:

  1. Localized Treatment: Pastes are ideal for delivering medications directly to the affected area, minimizing systemic absorption and potential side effects.
  2. Versatility: They can accommodate a wide range of medications, including both lipophilic and hydrophilic compounds.
  3. Easy Application: The semi-solid nature of pastes makes them easy to apply, ensuring patient compliance and precise dosing.
  4. Hydration: Some pastes, especially those used in dermatology, provide a hydrating effect, which can be beneficial for dry or damaged skin.

Types of Pharmaceutical Pastes

Pharmaceutical pastes come in several types, each designed to meet specific medical needs:

  1. Dermatological Pastes: These pastes are formulated for the treatment of skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and fungal infections. They may contain corticosteroids, antifungals, or antibacterial agents to address various skin issues.
  2. Transdermal Gels: Transdermal pastes are used for the slow and controlled release of medications through the skin. They are common in pain management and hormone therapy. The gel consistency allows for the gradual absorption of the active ingredient.
  3. Oral Care Pastes: These pastes are used to address oral health issues. For example, toothpaste is a widely used oral care paste for daily dental hygiene. Other oral care pastes may include teething gels for infants and pastes for treating oral ulcers.
  4. Vaginal Pastes: Vaginal pastes serve gynecological purposes, such as hormone replacement therapy, contraception, and the treatment of vaginal infections. They are designed for intravaginal application, ensuring localized effects.
  5. Wound Care Pastes: Some pastes are formulated for wound care and management. They may contain antibacterial agents and promote wound healing by creating a suitable environment for tissue repair.

Production of Pharmaceutical Pastes

The production of pharmaceutical pastes involves a series of carefully controlled steps:

  1. Ingredient Selection: The first step is selecting the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and excipients, such as gelling agents, preservatives, and stabilizers. The choice of ingredients depends on the intended use of the paste.
  2. Mixing and Homogenization: The API and excipients are mixed to create a uniform blend. Homogenization, a process that breaks down the particle size of the ingredients, ensures consistency in the paste.
  3. Addition of Liquid Phase: A liquid phase, such as water or a specific solvent, is added to the mixture. This step gradually transforms the blend into a paste-like consistency.
  4. Quality Control: Rigorous quality control measures are implemented to ensure the paste’s quality, stability, and uniformity. This may include testing the pH, viscosity, and other parameters.
  5. Packaging: Once the paste meets the specified quality standards, it is packaged in suitable containers, often in tubes or jars, and labeled with appropriate instructions for use.

Uses of Pharmaceutical Pastes

Pharmaceutical pastes serve a wide range of medical purposes:

  1. Localized Treatment: Their thick consistency allows for the precise and localized application of medication, minimizing systemic effects.
  2. Pain Management: Topical analgesic pastes are used for pain relief, especially for conditions like arthritis, muscle strains, and joint pain.
  3. Dermatological Treatment: Pastes for skin conditions provide targeted therapy for issues like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
  4. Oral Hygiene: Toothpaste and other oral care pastes help maintain dental health by preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and providing fresh breath.
  5. Gynecology: Vaginal pastes are used for various gynecological purposes, including contraception, hormone therapy, and the treatment of infections.
  6. Wound Care: Wound care pastes help create a suitable environment for wound healing and may contain antibacterial agents to prevent infection.


Certainly! Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to pastes:

    1. What is a pharmaceutical paste, and how is it different from other dosage forms?

      A pharmaceutical paste is a semi-solid dosage form used for the topical application of medications. It is distinct from solid dosage forms like tablets or capsules and provides localized treatment.

    2. What are the common types of pharmaceutical pastes, and where are they used?

      Common types include dermatological pastes for skin conditions, transdermal gels for pain management, oral care pastes like toothpaste, vaginal pastes for gynecological purposes, and wound care pastes for managing and healing wounds.

    3. How do pharmaceutical pastes work in localized treatment?

      Pharmaceutical pastes are applied directly to the area requiring treatment, allowing the medication to be absorbed through the skin or mucous membranes. This localized approach minimizes systemic effects.

    4. Are there any safety considerations when using pharmaceutical pastes?

      Patients should be aware of potential allergies or sensitivities to the active ingredient or excipients in the paste. Proper application as directed is essential, and patients should avoid contact with sensitive areas, like the eyes.

    5. What are the advantages of pharmaceutical pastes compared to other dosage forms?

      The advantages include precise and localized treatment, versatility in accommodating various medications, and ease of application. They are particularly beneficial for patients with specific health needs.

    6. Can pharmaceutical pastes expire, and how should they be stored?

      Like other medications, pharmaceutical pastes can expire. Patients should adhere to the indicated expiration date and store the paste according to the product’s packaging recommendations to ensure effectiveness.

    7. Can a healthcare provider prescribe a pharmaceutical paste for a specific medical condition?

      Yes, healthcare providers can prescribe pharmaceutical pastes tailored to the patient’s specific medical needs. It’s essential to follow the prescribed treatment and application instructions for optimal results.

    8. Are there any differences between transdermal gels and other pharmaceutical pastes?

      Transdermal gels are a subset of pharmaceutical pastes designed for gradual medication absorption through the skin. They are typically used for systemic effects, such as pain management or hormone therapy.

Paste PDF Notes


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