Hypromellose – A traditional pharmaceutical excipient with modern applications in oral and oromucosal drug delivery

2022/09/30 14:22


  • HPMC is a traditional pharmaceutical excipient with favorable safety profile.

  • Mucoadhesive properties and controlled release in oral and oromucosal formulations.

  • HPMC inhibit drug crystallization in amorphous solid dispersions.

  • Applicable to nanoprecipitation, hot-met extrusion, 3D printing or electrospinning.

  • HPMC is well-suited for continuous manufacturing technology.


Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC), also known as Hypromellose, is a traditional pharmaceutical excipient widely exploited in oral sustained drug release matrix systems. The choice of numerous viscosity grades and molecular weights available from different manufacturers provides a great variability in its physical-chemical properties and is a basis for its broad successful application in pharmaceutical research, development, and manufacturing. The excellent mucoadhesive properties of HPMC predetermine its use in oromucosal delivery systems including mucoadhesive tablets and films. HPMC also possesses desirable properties for formulating amorphous solid dispersions increasing the oral bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs. Printability and electrospinnability of HPMC are promising features for its application in 3D printed drug products and nanofiber-based drug delivery systems. Nanoparticle-based formulations are extensively explored as antigen and protein carriers for the formulation of oral vaccines, and oral delivery of biologicals including insulin, respectively. HPMC, being a traditional pharmaceutical excipient, has an irreplaceable role in the development of new pharmaceutical technologies, and new drug products leading to continuous manufacturing processes, and personalized medicine. This review firstly provides information on the physical-chemical properties of HPMC and a comprehensive overview of its application in traditional oral drug formulations. Secondly, this review focuses on the application of HPMC in modern pharmaceutical technologies including spray drying, hot-melt extrusion, 3D printing, nanoprecipitation and electrospinning leading to the formulation of printlets, nanoparticle-, microparticle-, and nanofiber-based delivery systems for oral and oromucosal application.

Hypromellose is an excellent excipient for formulation of classical dosage forms and advanced drug delivery systems. New methods of hypromellose processing include spray draying, hot-melt extrusion, 3D printing, and electrospinning.

Graphical abstract