JUL 23, 2020 6:46 AM PDT

'Non-active' Ingredients in Drugs May Actually Be Active

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Sometimes ‘silent’ or inert ingredients, such as dyes and preservatives, that are found in common therapeutics may be biologically active and due harm. According to a preliminary study by researchers from the UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy and the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR), these inert ingredients may lead to adverse side-effects.

"Our study was meant to expand on anecdotal evidence that excipients may be the culprits of unexpected physiological effects seen in certain drug formulations," said study lead author Joshua Pottel, PhD, a former postdoctoral researcher in the Shoichet lab who is now President and CEO of Montreal-based Molecular Forecaster Inc. "It was not so surprising to find new properties of understudied compounds that have been grandfathered in as 'inactive' for decades, but it was surprising to see how potent some of these molecules are, especially considering the fairly high quantities sometimes used in typical drug formulations."

Learn more on how drugs are made:

Generally speaking, medicines contain a fairly small amount of active pharmaceutical ingredient. What makes up the rest of the drug? Inert components such as preservatives, dyes, antimicrobials and other compounds known as excipients.

"These data illustrate that while many excipient molecules are in fact inert, a good number may have previously unappreciated effects on human proteins known to play an important role in health and disease," says says Brian Shoichet, PhD, of the UCSF Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. "We demonstrate an approach by which drug makers could in the future evaluate the excipients used in their formulations, and replace biologically active compounds with equivalent molecules that are truly inactive."

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
AUG 29, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MDMA and LSD Combo to Enter Clinical Trials
AUG 29, 2020
MDMA and LSD Combo to Enter Clinical Trials
Scientists from the pharmaceutical company, MindMed, have announced the beginning of Phase 1 clinical trials to test Sch ...
SEP 08, 2020
Cardiology
Fixing Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Repair
SEP 08, 2020
Fixing Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Repair
Repairing the damage done by a heart attack has been of keen interest for decades. Some researchers think protecting the ...
SEP 17, 2020
Immunology
COVID Vaccine Works in Macaques - What about in Humans?
SEP 17, 2020
COVID Vaccine Works in Macaques - What about in Humans?
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, in partnership with BioNTech has reported that one of its lead vaccine candidates has shown ...
SEP 30, 2020
Cancer
Chemokines Could be the Key in Controlling Glioma Stem Cells
SEP 30, 2020
Chemokines Could be the Key in Controlling Glioma Stem Cells
The transformation of a healthy cell into a cancerous one often comes with a slew of cellular signaling changes.  T ...
OCT 15, 2020
Neuroscience
Neurometabolism: A bold, new frontier
OCT 15, 2020
Neurometabolism: A bold, new frontier
Billions of neurons communicate with each other through trillions of synapses to create a functioning, unique system we ...
OCT 21, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Experimental Vaccine Shows Promise in Halting Alzheimer's
OCT 21, 2020
Experimental Vaccine Shows Promise in Halting Alzheimer's
In a preclinical study, researchers from the Univerity of South Florida have found that a vaccine that targets neurotoxi ...
Loading Comments...