Scientific Name(S): Kaolin, hydrated aluminum silicate
Common Name(S): Heavy or light kaolin, China clay, bolus alba, porcelain clay, white bole, argilla
Source: Kaolin is a hydrated aluminum silicate. It is a naturally occurring clay that is prepared for pharmaceutical purposes by washing with water to remove sand and other impurities.
History: Kaolin has been used commercially and medicinally for hundreds of years. It is currently found in the manufacture of pottery, bricks, cement, plastering material, color lakes (insoluble dyes) and insulators. It is also used in pharmaceutical preparations as a filtering agent to clarify liquids. When applied topically, it serves as an emollient and drying agent. When ingested, it acts as an adsorbent to bind gastrointestinal toxins and to control diarrhea.
Kaolin has been added to dusting powders and is used as a tablet excipient. Kaolin is also utilized in a variety of automated laboratory chemistry tests, including the determination of activated coagulation time (ACT) and in the serodiagnosis of tuberculosis, using the kaolin agglutination test (KAT).
Uses of Kaolin
Kaolin is used internally to control diarrhea and topically as an emollient and drying agent.
Side Effects of Kaolin
Kaolin is unlikely to cause any side effects. If however, you experience any worrying symptoms, which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your pharmacist.
Toxicology: Because kaolin actively adsorbs a wide variety of substances to its surface, it should not be administered with drugs that may adhere (ie, digoxin, lincomycin, phenothiazines, etc). This is a particular concern when formulating new dosage forms, in that it must be assured that the kaolin diluent does not reduce the bioavailability of the active drug substance.
Kaolin is highly insoluble and is not absorbed systemically. Therefore, it is not generally associated with severe toxicity.
Inhalation of nonfibrous silicate compounds such as kaolin may predispose miners to pulmonary diseases.
Summary: Kaolin is a widely used natural mineral that finds its most common pharmaceutical application as an adsorbent in antidiarrheal preparations. Kaolin is believed to exert it effects by adsorbing toxins that may have initiated the diarrheal episode by providing bulk to the stool. Kaolin may adsorb certain drugs, thereby reducing their bio-availability.
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