Canada Health Alliance

What is Polysorbate 80 And Why Should You Avoid It?

The Good Human

Polysorbate 80 (also known as Tween 80) is a food emulsifier, a surfactant in cosmetics, and an excipient used to stabilize aqueous medicine formulations. This synthetic chemical is a thick yellow liquid that is water-soluble generated from sorbitol, natural sugar alcohol, and the ethoxylation of sorbitan followed by the addition of lauric acid to create a polysorbate-type nonionic surfactant.

… In medicine, polysorbate 80 is a common excipient and solubilizing agent. Polysorbate 80 is in lotions, medicinal preparations (e.g., vitamin oils, vaccinations, and intravenous preparations), and as an excipient in tablets in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

Docetaxel, epoetin, darbepoetin, and fosaprepitant (used in chemotherapy, supportive care, or prophylaxis) are some of the medications produced with polysorbate 80.

Polysorbate 80 also acts as a solubilizing agent in amiodarone’s antiarrhythmic medication IV preparations.

… Small amounts of undigested polysorbate 80 in meals may promote bacterial translocation, explaining why Crohn’s disease is becoming more common.

Polysorbate 80 also links to a variety of systemic responses (e.g., hypersensitivity, non-allergic anaphylaxis, rash) and injection- and infusion-site adverse effects in medication formulations (ISAEs; e.g., pain, erythema, thrombophlebitis).

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