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Croscarmellose Sodium Side Effects

author image Elizabeth Thatcher
Based outside Boston, Elizabeth Thatcher began writing health-related articles in 2007. Her work has appeared in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science," "Nature Genetics," "Journal of Cell Biology," "Developmental Dynamics," "RNA Biology" and "BMC Genomics." Thatcher earned a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering from Mercer University before starting medical research and receiving her doctorate in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University.
Croscarmellose Sodium Side Effects
Store your medications in a dry place to prevent croscarmellose sodium from absorbing moisture prematurely. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images


Croscarmellose sodium is a commonly used matrix to deliver drugs to the intestines. Stabilizing sodium carboxymethylcellulose produces croscarmellose sodium. The Food and Drug Administration has approved croscarmellose sodium for use as an inactive ingredient in any pharmaceutical. The amount of croscarmellose sodium added to the drug or supplement is dependent on where the manufacturer wants the material to disintegrate in the intestinal tract. Since croscarmellose sodium is typically used in small doses, not many side effects are reported.

Intestinal Blockage

Croscarmellose sodium is valued based on its sponge-like ability. Even when used in hard-tablet form, croscarmellose sodium can expand up to 20 times its original size by soaking up fluids in the body, according to a report in “AAPS PharmSciTech.” This allows the drugs or supplements greater access to fluids to aid drug solubility. Large doses of croscarmellose sodium may have the ability to create an intestinal blockage if consumed at roughly the same. Industrial workers producing croscarmellose sodium may be the most likely people to come into contact with large enough samples to cause this symptom. If you experience any abdominal pain, talk to your doctor.

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Ineffective Drug or Supplement Delivery

Croscarmellose sodium’s ability to expand and absorb fluids makes it an ideal vehicle for drug and supplement delivery. However, if medicines and supplements with croscarmellose sodium are left out of their containers, they will also absorb moisture from the air, states “AAPS PharmSciTech.” This could cause the drug to be released in your stomach instead of your intestines. If the drug is released prematurely, you may not absorb the correct dose. If your medicine has become exposed to moisture, talk to your doctor about getting a replacement prescription.

Overgrowth of Flora

Dr. Sidney Haas created the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to avoid harmful bacterial flora growth in the intestines. This diet limited complex carbohydrates and refined sugar in the attempt to stop symptoms of Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease. Under the guidelines of this diet, croscarmellose sodium should be specifically avoided because of its ability to promote overgrowth of flora, both good and bad. If you have any symptoms of gastrointestinal trouble, you may want to avoid this additive when possible. You can talk to your doctor about alternative medications that don’t utilize this additive, and supplements made by different manufacturers may not rely on the same additives.

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  • “AAPS PharmSciTech”; Thermal Porosity Analysis of Croscarmellose Sodium and Sodium Starch Glycolate by Differential Scanning Calorimetry; D. Faroongsarng and G. Peck
  • “Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet”; Kirkton Press; E. Gottschall
  • Drugs.com: Croscarmellose Sodium
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