Tablet Binders: Types, Uses, And How To Choose One

Medicines have completely changed the therapy game. Gone are the days when people had to rely on herbs and other formulations just to get the care they needed and optimize their health. Now, with meds,. Things are easy peasy. 

That said, meds also need a lot of ingredients that help them to function and be effective. Major among those are tablet binders, which provide a way for the components of these meds to be joined together in one place. 

This article will look into the tablet binder, as well as how it works and which option you should choose.

An Introduction To Tablet Binders

Before we examine the major classifications, let’s take a quick look at the subject matter to understand what it is. 

Some might call it a pill binder, but a tablet binder works as a substance 

that helps to take the components in a tablet and pretty much keep them together. As you can imagine, there are different components in a single medicine formulation. With the pill binder, you’re pretty much able to ensure that these ingredients work together and can remain in sync.

In general, a tablet binder helps to serve some of the following major functionalities: 

  • The Formation Of Granules: As part of the process of making tablets, you have different active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and excipients that are mixed. A binding agent essentially makes sure that there is some sense of cohesion in this formulation.
  • Keeping Your Tabs Functional: At the same time, a binding agent helps to ensure that your tablet remains structurally sound. This way, the tablet doesn’t just crumble.
  • Making It Easier To Dissolve: Believe it or not, tablet binders also influence the formulation and ability of these tablets to dissolve in water. With the right binding agent, you’ll find that the tablet will easily dissolve when it gets into the water. 
  • Maintaining A Hard Body: A binding agent for tablets ensures that your tablet is just hard enough to withstand mechanical stresses that will be imposed upon it when the manufacturing process is going on. 
  • Distributing Drugs Properly: Another use of a binder in tablet formulations is to ensure that drugs within the tablet are properly distributed. This way, you know that every tablet has the right, consistent number of active ingredients. 

Types of Tablet Binders

When it comes to tablet binders, you have quite a lot of options to choose from. All of these options provide their different pros and cons, and they can also work in specific circumstances to help you achieve the right results. 

Let’s take a quick look at the options you have so you can better understand what you’re working with: 

Natural Binders

As you probably know, there’s been a major push recently in the pharmaceutical industry to use more natural products and ingredients when formulating drugs. To that end, many manufacturers have also chosen the route of using a natural binder agent

Here are a few options that you might want to consider in this regard:

Derivatives From Cellulose

When it comes to cellulose-based options that can be used as tablet binders, you have two major options:

  • Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose: Shortened as HPMC, this is a product that easily dissolves in water. It is also quite strong, and its ability to control product release makes it valuable.
  • Hydroxyethyl Cellulose: This product is quite similar to the other, although it provides the added benefit of working as a thickening agent.

Starchy Tablet Binders

We’ve also seen a lot of impressive developments in the use of starch and its associated materials as a possible binding agent for tablets. Here, the options available are major: 

  • Maize Starch: A natural polysaccharide, maize starch is also noted for its solid binding. 
  • Pregelatinized Starch: This is essentially starch that can form a cold water paste thanks to the gelatinization process. With the material as a binder in tablet options, it helps to improve release mechanisms. 

Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC)

Also obtained from cellulose, this product is mostly used to optimize compression. But, for some tablet formulations, you can also see it helps to improve binding properties. It is especially useful in fast-dissolving tablets, so keep an eye out for that.

Sodium CMC (Carboxymethylcellulose)

Like HPMC, CMC also dissolves easily in water. If you’re making a drug where you need to improve controlled release, then this is something you want to work on as a binder agent.

Acacia Gum:

Known colloquially as gum fabric, this natural binder is tapped from the Acacia tree. You mostly see it being used in lozenges and chewable tablets. 

Spray-Dried Lactose:

You need to ensure that the lactose you’re using in chemical binders is spray-dried. Plus, the material can also help to work as a filler and a disintegrator.

Synthetic Binder Options

With natural options in relatively limited supply, there has been a growth in synthetic products that essentially try to mimic their properties. The same is seen when it comes to chemical binders

For these products, you have a few notable names: 

Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP):

A synthetic polymer, PVP provides impressive binding characteristics, while also helping your tablet to easily dissolve in both water and even some alcoholic drinks.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

Shortened as PEG, this material is notable because it improves both binding and general material lubrication. Just as well, it works pretty well with other binders, so there’s a lot of potential here.

What Tablet Binders Are Used For

There’s no doubt about it – if you’re creating a drug, you need a binding agent along with your pharmaceutical equipment. So, what are binders used for exactly, and why are they seen as a crucial part of the entire tablet manufacturing process?

Improving Granulation For Tablets

One of the major functions of tablet binders is to help optimize the granulation process for tablets. Essentially, this process involves forming granules by combining APIs with excipients. And by holding the latter together, binding agents play a crucial role. 

Giving Tablets Their Final Form

We should also point out the fact that pill binders help to form tablets from the granulation stage. Their job is to ensure that all components are properly cohesive, so the tablet’s form remains solid.

Building Up & Tearing Down

At this point, we’ve seen the use of binders for building tablets up. But, these components also help in ensuring smooth disintegration and promote dissolution when you swallow the tabs.

Keeping Everything Lubricated

There is a lubrication benefit that comes from using tablet binders. With the lubrication benefit, these agents help make it easy for you to process your tablets. And, they prevent your tablets from sticking to your pharmaceutical equipment in the development stage.

Giving You Controlled Release

We should point out the fact that these binding agents also help in providing the right levels of controlled release properties. Essentially, they ensure that the release of the drug as time goes on is consistent, so you can achieve optimal therapeutic properties.

Covering Any Unpleasant Properties

Binders can also help to mask any bad smells or taste that the drug might have. Considering that active ingredient formulations can indeed be difficult to deal with, binders ensure that your medicine is more appealing to you.

Boosting The Overall Compatibility 

With binders, you can rest assured that active ingredients and other components remain compatible. They even help improve compatibility for some components that wouldn’t work together in their natural states.

Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Tablet Binders

With everything we’ve said about chemical binders, you can understand how important it is for you to choose the right one when you’re about to begin the manufacturing process. So, here are a few things you can keep in mind to guide your choice:

Does It Work With Your Active Ingredients? 

You can’t have medicine without an active ingredient. Considering that the binders help to ensure that everything in your medicine is held tightly, you also need to make sure that it is compatible with these APIs. Otherwise, you could see the API degrade quickly. 

Does It Dissolve Well In Water? 

Solubility is another critical factor you need to consider when dealing with binding agents. Some of these binders dissolve in water, while others work better with organic solvents. Choose the right one for you as it can affect the tablet’s overall dissolution. 

How Much Do You Need?

You also have to determine the concentration of the binder in question. This will most likely affect thighs like solubility and hardness, so it is very important. 

Consider How It Releases

Be sure to think about the agent’s release profile – especially if you need a drug with a controlled release. 

The Mechanical Properties Are Key

Think about the mechanical strength that the binder offers. It should be able to improve the hardness of the tablet, as well as its ability to withstand excess stress. 

How It Works With Manufacturing 

Examine how the binder will affect the overall manufacturability of your tablet. Some binders only work when they are part of specific manufacturing processes, while others are more flexible.

Can You Find It Easily? 

Quality and compatibility should be your biggest determinants, but it also helps to know that your chosen pill binder is affordable and can be easily found. At the end of the day, this helps make your manufacturing process much easier. 

Consider The Laws Surrounding It

Your selected binder will need to comply with appropriate regulatory benchmarks, especially for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Be sure to check for specific details and possible restrictions, so you know you’re clear.


Processing and manufacturing drugs is a process that requires a lot of work. And, having the right tablet binder will help to make your work easier. 

If you’d like more information, remember that we at Sainty Tec are always here to help you out. Reach out to us, and let’s see how we can be of assistance.

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