PROTECTIVE AND ABSORBENTS – Pharmaceutical Inorganic Chemistry B. Pharma 1st Semester




Protective and absorbents materials are substances or products designed to prevent the penetration of liquids, solids, or contaminants while efficiently absorbing and retaining fluids. These materials are engineered to serve a dual purpose: to protect and ensure comfort. They are available in various forms, from disposable to reusable and can be made from natural or synthetic sources.

This group of GIT agents is commonly used for the treatment of mild diarrhea and dysentery or other disturbances of GIT tract because of their ability to adsorb gases, toxins and bacteria.

Diarrhea is a symptom but not a disease. It mainly occurs because of improper digestion or absorption of food or by bacterial infection.

Diarrhea may be acute or chronic. Diarrhea is a serious condition, particularly for very young or elderly patients, because there will be loss of fluids and electrolytes can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Many chemical agents are used to treat diarrhea. Their main action is of protective and adsorbent in nature.

Chemically they are inert and insoluble salts and they form a protective layer or coat on the mucosal membrane and provide a mechanical protection.

Furthermore, they adsorb the toxin, which are able to stimulate flow of electrolytes into intestine causing watery stool.

They may or may not have antibacterial action, in case of serious cases they are advised to take antibacterial or antispasmodic drugs. The inorganic compounds used as protective and adsorbent are bismuth salts, special clays like light kaolin and activated charcoal.

Properties of protective and adsorbents;

    Chemically inert substances

    Used in treatmentof mild diarrhoea and dysentery

    Ability to absorb gases, toxins and bacteria

    Form a protective layer on painful ulcers in GIT

Light Kaolin

Synonym: Hydrated aluminum silicate.

Chemical formula: Al2O3.2SiO2.2H2O.

Method of Preparation: It is prepared from natural clay

It involves the following steps:

• Powdering

• Particles separation by means of electrical sedimentation

• Purification from gritty particles and other impurities by elutriation

• Drying

• Storing in suitable container

How does it work?

Kaolin acts as a protective coating for the mouth to decrease pain associated with radiation-induced damage.

Storage: Store protected from moisture.

Medicinal uses:

    Diarrhea, dysentery, colitis and cholera

    Adsorbent in food and alkaloidal poisoning


    Dusting Powders and filter aids


Chemical Formula: Al2O3.4SiO2.H2O.

Synonym: Wilkinite

Description: Pale buff or yellowish brown odorless, with slight earthy taste, Occurs as fine powder practically insoluble in water and all inorganic solvents.

Medicinal uses: Used as suspending, emulsifying and stabilizing agent, excellent emulsifier for o/w emulsions Used as a base for pharmaceutical preparations such as ointments, plasters etc. It is also used as an adsorbent

Storage: It should be stored in airtight container in a cool and dry place.


1. What are some common natural materials used in protective and absorbent products?

Common natural materials include cotton, bamboo, and hemp, known for their breathability and comfort.

2. Are reusable protective and absorbent materials as effective as disposable ones?

Reusable materials can be as effective as disposable ones if properly maintained, making them a sustainable choice.

3. How do protective and absorbent materials impact the environment?

Manufacturers are increasingly focusing on sustainability, producing biodegradable and eco-friendly materials to reduce their environmental impact.

4. What are some recent innovations in protective and absorbent materials?

Nanotechnology, sustainable sourcing, and biodegradable materials are some of the recent innovations in this field.

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