Excipients: Questions to ask

Last updated: Sunday, December 10, 2023

Sometimes you'll be asked about excipients directly by patients because there are substances they know that they can't take. On other occasions you might be raising the question yourself: 'If it's not the drug causing this reaction, could it be an excipient?'

If you're being asked about use of a specific medicine you'll need the indication, dose, frequency, route of administration and expected duration of treatment. There are some general questions to ask when problem solving; in particular, you should ask about other medicines being taken because a patient may be taking a suspect excipient in another medicine. But what else do you need to know that's specific to excipients?

Consider the sort of information you may need when confronted by a clinical problem involving excipients. What questions might you ask about the medicine(s) concerned, and about the patient?

When you've had time to think for yourself, look at the infographic below and see if our suggestions match your own ideas.

On the next page, you can see a brief explanation as to why these questions may be important in practice.